Jan 2, 2009


I haven't been blog-surfing for the past two days because I know what I'd find. We've marked this day on the Gregorian calendar as momentous and, as a result, people are often compelled to mark it's arrival, and sometimes, even it's departure. The most common and painfully clich├ęd totem would be the countdown of the best/worst/most this-and-that moments through out the year. This genre of compressed historical countdown is probably the most overplayed and it's over-usage, to me, renders even the most uber-icon as banal.

The second most common would probably be the new-year's-resolution marker or, for the less courageous, a revamping of the previous year's resolutions. Oprah got a head start on this one in this month's O magazine where she 'opened up' about her fall off the healthy-wagon. She plays the whole issue around how to get back on and keep your rump from falling off again. The scenario's quite similar with when she first decided to 'take control' of her health. Yup, very original.

I was very tempted to set a marker of my own but I've given up on the new year's resolution several years ago. For one thing I go by the Hijri calendar so January 1st has less impact on me than it does for other people. The other thing is, I find that there aren't any tangible difference from the day December 31st 2008 and the day of January 1st 2009 except for the change in the year. The weather varies as it always does, the sun rises just as beautifully, the air still fills my lungs and the clock still ticks one second at a time. Worst of all, probably, is the fact that the current economic crisis is still threatening to simulate the Great Depression of the 1920's. From the way merry-makers were partying on new year's eve you'd think that the crisis would miraculously fix itself at the stroke of midnight and we'd be able to defy gravity for one day, at least.

The question came to me when I was watching the news coverage of the fireworks celebration around the world. 'What exactly ARE we celebrating?' The best answer that my dad and I can come with was that we were celebrating the change of a digit. Everything else seems to be the same. Except for maybe a little less cash from buying booze with nothing to show except a murderous hangover.

Perhaps what gets people so excited about the change in that last digit is the fact that it signifies a fresh start and the hope of something better or improved, the result of which is not readily tangible and may only come in time. Perhaps the significance of the new year is what we make of it in our minds. In that case, then, I can choose to mark the new year at any time of the year.


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