For whatever reason, most of us feel the need to divide our lives into even smaller increments. There are birthdays, Christmas is an annual holiday that marks another year, and, of course, New Year’s Eve. The first of January comes along, like each of our birthdays and the holidays that we celebrate, and we “celebrate” it as well: another year gone by and another year to come. Time goes by, and we are reminded that time marches on. For reasons unknown to me, in the west we celebrate New Year’s Eve by drinking. Some drink with the hope of a better future, and some drink to ease the transition, and some drink simply because they do not know of anything else to do.
New Year’s Eve is an irony: a celebration of both past and future, but oddly enough not of the present. In the “now” of New Year’s Eve, we get drunk. What if New Year’s Eve was celebrated differently? To put some meat on the bones of hapless debauchery, we often make “New Year’s Resolutions”: empty promises and vague propositions about the future that become as forgotten as the past year, but even quicker. I wonder what our New Year tradition of celebration would be like if each of us truly took into account our actions and decisions in the past year, and made a promise to ourselves to change the reasons we do those things and change them right now?
Rather than changing the way we look, what if we changed the reasons for the way we look? Rather than being better in one way or another, what if we changed the reasons that we were not as good as we could be right now? If we insist on chopping up our lives in annual increments, let’s do it for good reason and not waste yet another minute that soon turns to a year and eventually a lifetime on empty promises and blind faith about the future.
So raise a glass right now, for the moment, and celebrate the present because there will never be another one like it.