I used to make resolutions every New Year. They weren’t terribly original, lose weight (uh yeah no progress there), get fit (see above), become more organised (getting somewhere with this one), etc etc etc. Now there are lots of reasons why I – and let’s face it most of us – don’t keep our New Year resolutions and I’m not going to list them here, any magazine or newspaper will have had at least one article along these lines over the last while. But it occurred to me a few years ago that one possible reason why I’ve never managed to keep said resolutions is that 31st December doesn’t really sit well with me. I’ve never been a fan of big NYE parties, or of gathering together with a bunch of randomers to watch the clock turn round, and I cringe at Auld Lang Syne. (I’m always reminded of Queen Elizabeth’s expression at the millenium celebrations)
I love Christmas/Yuletide/Midwinter/whatever you’re having yourself and mark a lot of festival days throughout the year in my own little way. So its not that I’m a bah humbug (or whatever the NYE equivalent would be). I am a demon for making to-do lists and plans and schemes so resolutions should come easy to me. I think there’s two reasons why 31st Dec doesn’t really do it for me. Firstly, and this is something that I have become more aware of in the last few years, its an artificial time to start a year. Its the middle of a season, so not a natural time for a break or change. The Celtic New Year happens at Samhain – 1st Nov. Its the traditional start of winter but rather than being a time to start new projects or plans, Samhain is a time to reflect and relax, to look inward and to retreat somewhat. Most definitely not a time for making big changes.
Secondly, its just another day – there is nothing special about New Year’s except that the calendar changes from one year to the next. And remember that the naming and numbering of days months and years is just a structure that humankind has created. It could be argued that it bears no relation to anything in nature and the passing of the seasons. I love history and as such am very aware of dates, centuries and the passing of time. But to create a big celebration around the fact that a system we have created in order to keep track of events has just done what it does each day seems a little odd to me.
And that’s why I think I’ve never had much success with New Year’s resolutions. Its too artificial for me. That’s not to say my mind doesn’t stray to all kinds of ideas and plans in late December but I don’t make any resolutions anymore. Talk to me at Imbolc though and that might be a whole other thing…….
Oh – and Happy New Year!