I love reading about the history of when the new year starts. As usual, men in power bickered amongst themselves about how to shape reality to their preferences, and in 1582 Pope Gregory introduced the Gregorian calendar, first to the Catholics and then eventually adopted by everyone. I love that Greece didn’t accept it for years after everyone else did. And I especially like knowing that, historically, “the new year” has been all over the place.
Probably because I grew up with two teachers for parents, fall has always resonated in my bones as the time that’s really “a new year.” I’m not Jewish, but their calendar works for me. I wonder how life would change if we all lived with that sense of reality.
Still, I’m glad we have a common calendar. It’s handy to be able to set dates for meetings, going on vacation, or honoring holidays. So long as we’re honest about the fact that time as we actually live it isn’t linear, no matter who’s in power, who’s counting and how they’re counting. The earth and sun and moon move in circles and keep time which does not bow to externally imposed numbers . And I truly believe that time speeds up and slows down, at least in my lived experience. Sometimes ten minutes is gone in a nanosecond, sometimes it feels like a couple of hours, depending on what’s going on.
And yet, underneath all the media hype about the new year, the ubiquitous lists which feature everything ranging from 2018’s best meatballs to worst potholes, there is something satisfying about a fresh number, a date never lived in before. 2019! Who’d have ever thought THAT would happen?
Maybe we’re just not able to experience each day, each sunrise, each awakening in the morning as a fresh start. Maybe saving that for a once a year occasion meets some need in us.
Whether you center your life on how you greet each morning, each turn of the moon, each earth holiday, or each calendar new year, may you be filled with gratitude, hope, and joyful expectation.
I look forward to 2019 with you!