Happy New Year! This is a day in which we traditionally wish each other good fortune for the new year, and I join in wishing you a better year than the last one.
And yet there’s something odd about our choice of days. From my novel, Ordinary World:
New Years is an artificial boundary created by humans for their own purposes. Aside from the meaning we give it, it’s just another day with a “y” in it. It is a day of no consequence in any natural cycle that I am aware of: it has no significance in either the solar or the lunar calendars.
As humans in western society, we do give it significance. It marks the progression from one year to the next, and our traditions assign character to each separate year. We wish to each other that this year may be better than the last. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t. But the reality is, the boundary between years is wholly artificial, as is the evaluation of each year as good or bad.
But I am human, and my upbringing does not permit me to look at New Years as just another day. It is a boundary marker.
Today, January 1, 2022, offers no significant astronomical events. (The New Moon is tomorrow.) There are a few notable anniversaries of events today, including the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, the establishment of the United Nations in 1942, the first cell phone call in 1985, the establishment of NAFTA in 1994, and of course the rejection of the Beatles by Decca Records in 1963. (I’m sure they still regret that decision!) But on the whole, January 1 is not particularly significant historically.
Nevertheless, like the fictional main character of my book, I am human and I look to this boundary marker with hope. 2021 has been challenging, for me personally and for the world. May 2022 be a better year! I wish you more peace, more health, and more stability.