Sunday, January 1, 2012

On New Years and Other Fictions

(originally published 1/1/2011)

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Last year, I did a piece on New Year's Resolutions, so, if you're thinking of making some resolutions, you might want to peruse it.

This year, I'm looking at things a little bit differently. A lot of people view the New Year as a tabula rasa - a blank or erased slate, to be written or rewritten according to our will.

Only the slate is never completely erased, is it? The "tabula" is never completely "rasaed". The planet revolves on is axis and orbits the sun, oblivious to whatever marks the pages of our calendars.

The cartoon stereotype is the tiny infant in diaper and sash greeted by an old bearded man, representing the old and new years. But, in truth, the two are twins. Each nearly identical to the one before,changed only by the good and bad decisions made by those who mark the time in such a fashion.

We live with the consequences of those decisions as well as the decisions made by others, out of our control. If being "resolved" one day of the year helps you to make better decisions, then more power to you. Read last year's piece, it might help you.

But, honestly, other than remembering to put "11*" on your checks instead of "10", (and the promise of a new Congress) is this day any different than yesterday? Other than a great excuse to have a party, was yesterday any different than today?

The question I have, that maybe you can help me out with, is, After three score years on the planet, is this perspective wisdom, or cynicism, or both, or something else?

I used to post a poll once a week, and I'm not saying I resolve to start again, because, quite frankly, I can't remember why I stopped (unless it was to accommodate Ten Buck Fridays). But I am going to post that question as the first poll of the new year. Help me out here. Am I one step away from yelling at the kids to get off my lawn, am I morphing into a philosopher/elder statesman, or do I just need to finish my second cup of coffee?

*That would, of course, be a "12" now.

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