Yesterday’s Daily Prompt read as follows: Tomorrow is the first day of a brand new year. Tomorrow you get to become anyone in the world that you wish. Who are you? You can choose to by anyone, alive today or someone gone long ago. If you decide to stay “you” share your rationale.
Well, it is now January 1, 2014 and you will find me today sitting at the same table, drinking the same coffee, looking out the same window, typing on the same laptop as I have each day for months.
Nothing has changed.
I am still me.
And today is just another day. The sun set last night, and rose this morning. The Earth continues to turn and to move along its orbit.
Why should I be any different today than I was yesterday?
Thinking of this as a new year is rather arbitrary. There have been any number of calendars throughout humanity’s time on earth, and there continue to be, and they have each celebrated the changing year at varying times.
The Celtic Calendar, for example, is based on the lunar cycles and celebrates the new year at Samhain, now known as Halloween, while the Chinese New Year, following a different lunar calendar, celebrates its upcoming new year at the end of January this time around.
Obviously, with greater globalization, it makes sense to have one standardized calendar, but why the Georgian Calendar?
That’s a rhetorical question, of course, because the Georgian Calendar won out due to the power and reach of the Roman Empire, the civilization from whence it came.
The Georgian Calendar is a 16th Century adjustment to the older first century BCE Julian Calendar, itself a reformed version of the Roman calendar which, it is believed, was initially based upon one of the several Greek lunar calendars in existence during Classical times.
My point is less why the Georgian Calendar? and more why should following that calendar mean that today is any different from any other day, or that on this day I would be any different than I was the day before?
Because, though the Georgian Calendar is internationally the most widely accepted and used civil calendar, there are people around the world following other calendars and surely they do not feel different today. Did they wake up wondering why, in the middle of their current year, they suddenly felt like a new person?
I have trouble seeing why I should be any different, why I should suddenly try to be different today.
And isn’t it unhealthy to wish to be someone else anyway? I have spent the past half year learning to accept and embrace who I am, the insecurities, the flaws and the good things, too.
Today, I continue that journey. Today is simply the next day in a line of days throughout which I continue to be me – the me deep inside me, the me who is the mother, wife, daughter, daughter-in-law, friend, neighbour, acquaintance, blogger, and all the other things I am.
I wouldn’t undo all this work, all these years of developing who I am, for anything. Certainly not for some arbitrarily determined timekeeping method.
I like me. I know me. I am me, and I really can’t be anyone else.
Saying that, I am always happy to look around and appreciate the day, its little traditions and ceremonies and rituals, whether it is a regular day or a holiday.
So, while I will not be becoming someone new today, or this year, I will be celebrating and wishing everyone a happy new year. Perhaps that is hypocritical. But it makes sense in my mind in some non-linear, imperfect way which I am happy to embrace.
Celebrate the day but don’t change because of it.
Maybe that should be my motto for 2014.