As the holiday season comes to a close, the start of a new year is on the horizon, which means New Year’s resolutions aren’t far behind.
For many of us, December 31 is synonymous with gatherings in Time Square – where a star-studded ball makes its decent before thousands of onlookers cheering “Happy New Year!” at the stroke of midnight.
This time-honored celebration has become one of the world’s oldest holidays on record – credited to the Babylonians who first celebrated the day some 4,000 years ago.
Though the timing and traditions have changed some over the years, it’s still widely practiced by millions of people all over the globe on the eve of December 31.
But the start of a new year should mean more than just champagne toasts, streamers and purchasing a new desk calendar. It should be a time to reflect on the previous year and re-evaluate where we’ve been and where we’d like to go in the future.
The Babylonians are also credited with creating the New Year’s resolution.
In those days, a typical Babylonian resolution might consist of returning borrowed farm equipment to your neighbor, whereas today it’s more about bettering oneself.
A New Year’s resolution is really nothing more than an alteration of one’s habitual behaviors. Surveys indicate that the most common resolutions, year after year, are to get more physically fit, quit smoking or drinking, get out of debt or get more organized. Sound familiar?
But the reality is that New Year’s resolutions have become trite and meaningless – typically expiring a few days after they’re pledged.
Since society seems to have no will power in resolving to change something personal about themselves, maybe it’s time to try and change something collectively for society.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to hear people resolving to abolish prejudices against their fellow man on New Year’s?
Why not resolve to respect our neighbors as we would ourselves? Certainly tolerance can’t be that hard to carry on throughout the year.
And what about our children? Isn’t it about time we tried to reestablish the guidance that so many young people are lacking today instead of propagating cookie-cutter personas created by antiquated stereotypes?
Aren’t these resolutions worth raising a glass to on New Year’s Eve?
The beginning of a new year brings to all of us an element of hope that anything is possible. In fact, centuries ago it was believed that the start of a new year should coincide with spring – as a rebirth of nature signals a rebirth within ourselves.
But even though our new calendar year begins on the 1st of January, it’s still a time for a new beginning – a time for excitement when dreams and imaginations tend to dance around even the most cynical of hearts.
I conclude with a wonderful quote from author Peggy Toney Horton.
“Each New Year, we have before us a brand new book containing 365 blank pages. Let us fill them with all the forgotten things from last year – the words we forgot to say, the love we forgot to show, and the charity we forgot to offer.”
Happy New Year!