Well, here we are. 2019. While I know that time is a construct and nothing is fundamentally different than it was at 11:59 on December 31, 2018, I’ve grown to appreciate the symbolism of the new year. After our endless scribbling and tweaking on the etch-a-sketch that was our lives in a given year, we get to shake the screen clean and start over.
Even though every other aspect of our lives may be unchanged—same job, same city, same house, same gripes—we get to start fresh, supposedly. And it feels good. Even if it is just a construct.
It kind of reminds me of Kroger’s house brand of vegetables, which my husband and I were amused to learn was called “Freshlike.” It’s not fresh; it’s freshlike. Even though the name seems to call attention to the product not being fresh, I know what they’re getting at: “These vegetables may come in a can or be frozen, but it’s just like they’re fresh!” So too with the new year. Even though your life may be fundamentally unchanged, it’s just like you’re getting a new start.
But seriously, this sense of starting anew can really be powerful. I felt this intensely on the second day of this decade, the day following my wedding. My husband and I were married at a lodge in northern Wisconsin, the world was covered with ice and snow, and it was exceptionally cold. We woke up early to a brilliantly sunny morning and walked out onto the frozen lake that the lodge overlooked. Everything—the light, the cold, the sounds—was sharp and crisp; the only sounds were our breathing and the snow crunching and squeaking under our boots. The world, blanketed with a fresh layer of snow that twinkled under the bright morning light, seemed as fresh and promising as our new life together as a married couple. I felt invigorated and hopeful. I felt present. I felt at peace.
When I think of the new year, I think of that morning. Wouldn’t it be lovely if every day brought the peace of a bright winter morning in the pine forest on the day after your wedding? Happy New Year!