New Year confuses me. Actually it’s the revelry of the New Year eve that leaves me puzzled. What is it that the whole world is celebrating? That one year has passed and one lasted through it? Or that a “new” year is here and hence it is time for new beginnings? Either way I fail to see the reason behind the reckless partying.
I, for one, never have gone partying on New Year, which for a long time had more to do with sheer lethargy and the freezing weather than any ideological issues. And when I did apply my mind to it, I really couldn’t come up with a reason for celebrating. Or let me put it this way- I cannot see the reason for celebrating just this one day in the entire year.
This is not to say of course that, party or no party, I was always such a spoil sport. As a child, I remember being so very excited about the New Year. There was something magical about growing up in the Shimla of the ‘80s and ‘90s – biting chill yes but magic nevertheless. And if we had a white Christmas and New Year, the magic knew no bounds. With such an aura of fantasy and magic, New Year resolutions seemed tailor made to come true on their own. It was with great enthusiasm that I would buy a new calendar and a new diary, carefully jot down my resolutions and hope to wake up as a “new” me on the 1st of the New Year. What happened to all these resolutions I really need not spell out- new year resolutions are meant to be broken – the faster you break them, the more easily you can revert to your old, staid habits and ways.
So it was that I came around to questioning this whole “New Year” celebration thing. Why was it that we wait an entire year to let go of the past, welcome the new, and make an attempt at new beginnings? Do we really want to wallow in the self-inflicted misery of pain, hurt and failure for a year before we can bid it adieu? Conversely, why do we want to wait for as long a period before celebrating our joys and achievements and being grateful for all that we have and for making new beginnings?
Perhaps we like such defined, pre ordained celebrations, as we are slaves to landmarks. Time is essentially a continuum but we like to break it into tangible parts with stopgaps, something that makes for easy demarcation, some place where we can stop the break neck speed at which our lives are moving and really take a stock of the situation we call life. Hence, days like “New Year” to make a fresh start or “Valentine’s Day” to express love or the various fasts and festivals to remember the Lord. Rest of our living moments we choose to pass in a haze.
Have I finally woken up to life and found my way out of the haze? Sadly, not quite. I too am a slave of old habits, the most deadening one being of living either in the past or the future- constantly harking back to the past, be it with joy or sorrow, or looking ahead into the future. That the only “time” truly is NOW, be it for reflection, gratitude or for resolutions, sadly seems to be escaping me as well. Am I going to be “celebrating” New Year? Well yes and no… Yes as in I’d like to celebrate each day that has passed and the day I have to look forward to; No as in I rather not just celebrate 31st December-1st January but each and every day. To think of it, it is quite a tough call- to be as reflective, as aware and as resolute for new beginnings ( not to mention as delirious with joie de vivre) throughout the year as one is on New Year’s . Yet it is worth an attempt – life isn’t just a few “special” days scattered throughout the year but each and every day we are blessed to be alive. Let us wish each other, and ourselves, a very Happy Each Day and not simply a Happy New Year.