Saturday, December 31, 2005

The New Year

This is about New Year resolutions; what else would you expect on the first of January? It’s time to sweep all of last year’s stuff out the door and make some plans for 2006. It’s time to reassess and renew. It’s time to reconsider and draw up some goals. It’s time to lose some things, such as pounds.

As 1899 drew to a close, Thomas Hardy described the old century as being like a cold corpse in a coffin in the dead of winter; the new one was like a pitiful ancient, scrawny bird whose cry was plaintive and weak. Hardy, ever the pessimist, was a British poet who wrote in the latter 19th and early 20th centuries. He called himself a “meliorist,” which is defined as one who believes things can be made better through human effort. I’ve always thought that term was a bit too bright and cheery for him; his poetry is full of bitterness, harsh irony, and black humor.

It’s time……….the end of a year, the beginning of a new one. Unless we are pessimistic like Hardy, we humans are excited by the idea that when a new year begins, it could be the beginning of a brand new era. We can start over. (Of course, we really could start over at any point during the year, say, June 23 or September 5 or a Thursday afternoon. But we are tied to the first of January.)

Possibility glitters like gold and draws us with its intrigue.

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