The Latest Word: New Year’s Day is the most important day of the year.
Unlike religious holidays, it is universally celebrated and universally enjoyed.
New Year’s Day requires no special decorations (confetti is nice, but not necessary); has no special set of colors (unlike the red and green of Christmas), is non-denominational and completely international. It wraps the globe like a warm wave of positive energy, moving from culture to culture as the grey line of propagation makes its daily revolution around the planet.
For Americans, the New Year—in this case 2015– starts on one side of the world and in a vastly different time zone (Asia), and then works its’ way around to us, arriving—conveniently for network television—at prime time in America.
Midnight is the demarcation line and seldom has midnight had more importance. Within the space of one minute, one year will go and another one will arrive. One door shuts and another one opens; it’s concrete and finite and everyone on earth knows it. Unlike much in modern life, it is unequivocal; there is no room for debate or no grey area. 2014, Out. 2015, In. Carry on.
The New Year comes in; the old one goes out and you get a re-set.
Whether or not you are the type that likes to stay up until midnight partying and socializing or prefer to bring in the New Year more privately, the time-space effect is going to be the same: you will say goodbye to 2014 and hello to 2015 in just a matter of hours and you will join billions on the planet in doing so.
The New Year’s celebration (New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day)is best understood as a two day event, not a single day one, although a bit of partying can easily make them run together and seem like one never-ending holiday. I’ve had those moments myself, although not as much lately as in the past.
New Year’s Eve is the big celebratory party day, starting, depending upon your schedule, at about 4PM and continuing past (or well past) midnight. It is time for partying, eating, dancing, loud music, and new found enthusiasm for kissing people you do not know particularly well. New Year’s Eve is the last day of the old year. Congratulations: You made it. You have the right to get silly and celebrate. (Safety note: just don’t drive if you drink; crash in place and tell everyone you didn’t want to miss anything when you wake up the next day).
New Year’s Day itself –the daylight portion—is of course, the first day of the New Year and is for recovery, family, football and begging for forgiveness if your enthusiasm for kissing people you do not know particularly well got out of hand, as it often does on such a night. If that turns out to be the case—well, best of luck to you. You may find out the hard way that the old saying that it’s “better to ask for forgiveness than to seek permission” does not apply to random groping and hot twerking in a tuxedo. Just hope that no one from the press or a particularly well-circulated internet site was snapping photos in hopes of making one reputation (theirs) while crushing another one (yours).
In addition to post-celebration recovery and football, and a full day of grazing at the New Year’s Day buffet table, New Year’s Day is also famous for New Year’s Resolutions. As a matter of fact, that (and begging for forgiveness) might be the very best option for New Year’s Day.
Although one can make a resolution at any time of the year, New Year’s Day is always the very best time to do so. Making them in June or July seems a bit pointless and lonesome.
You’re expected to re-start and re-set on New Year’s Day. This is the day of forgiveness for habits past(see above). Have at it. You’ll be in good company. Literally millions of resolutions will be made by sundown of New Year’s Day (and no doubt another million broken by dawn of the next day) but it’s a tradition and a form of personal positivism that should be encouraged. New Year’s resolutions speak to your best intentions, so indulge and encourage yourself. If you want to re-set some part of your life, career, health program, or diet New Year’s is the very best day to do it. The timing is in your favor.
Take society up on the open book for reconciliation and change it’s given you and understand the dynamics.
New Year’s Eve is the end; New Year’s Day is the beginning.
So do with yourself what you so often have done to your computer. Hit the re-set button. Enjoy shutting down the old days, the old ways, the memories past (both good and bad), flash your personal RAM and relish the re-start, the new energy, the revised perspective, the bigger dreams. Simultaneously enjoy the freedom of letting go and the exhilaration of unbounded possibilities. Dream a little.
One day is for reflection; the other for projection. One set of stories and days and events are now complete; another set of adventures and trials and days and nights are to come.
More than any other holiday, New Year’s celebrates the possible, the unknown, the future, the passage of time and the new journey.
Once a year, mankind is all on the same page. And while the moment of synchronicity will disappear in just hours, we are all united by the hope (and promise) of a new year, a new start, a new beginning. New Year’s Day 2015 remains what all New Year’s Days have been through time: one more chance to really, really get it right.
It’s the New Year. Celebrate tonight. Recalibrate tomorrow.
This post was originally published on New Year’s, 2014; it has been modified to reflect re-posting for 2016.