In fact, it's hard for me to get very worked up about New Year's Eve retrospectives at all. I've long thought that outweighing the holiday's merit as truly international and secular - the Gregorian calendar is, after all, an artifact of state and commerce - is January First's totally irrelevance in most arenas most of us attend to. The astronomical calendar and the seasons do not notice it, most fiscal years ignore it, the US electoral system marks it not, the TV season is not based on it, and so on. It's pretty darn arbitrary, when you come to think of it.
The triviality of January 1 is especially true for me. Working in the higher ed system for the past eleven years, I have grown used to using October 1 as my rough marker for renewal. In addition, my personal budget runs from October 1 through September 30, and my birthday is in the beginning of October, so I underwent my own stock-taking, closing of the books, and turning of the calendar three months ago.
This time around, there's an additional reason for not marking the new year with a look backward. In many ways, 2008 could be counted as an annus horribilis around these parts, certainly from Otis's perspective. Not there there weren't any fine and happy moments at all, but there was so much struggle and pain for so much of the year that revisiting it holds little appeal.
So let's look forward instead, with just this briefest of backward glances:
From HKC, 2005-2006:
When we were having our new year's resolution discussion at breakfast yesterday, I didn't mention the one and only resolution that I make every year.From HKC, 2006-2007:
Many people have talked about it in many ways, and each year - each day, really - I hope that I can make fewer statements and ask more questions.
So I take this moment to reflect and to give thanks for the world I was lucky enough to be born into and for the people I have been fortunate enough to meet along the way. I generally have the same two resolutions every year; this year I add one more:From HKC, 2007-2008:
I will try to talk less and listen more.
I will try to ask more questions and make fewer statements.
I will look at the situations in which I find myself and ask how a little kindness might help.
This is my third New Year's Day Blog post, and my themes (I hesitate to call them resolutions) for the year remain the same, with some growth (a description that I hope applies to me as well):
Try to make fewer statements and ask more questions.
In each situation, consider what a little kindness might do.
So, I don't know what I can add, so I will merely reduce:
Listen more, talk less.
Ask, rather than state.
Try some kindness.
Happy New Year, Everyone!