Once again, this big blue ball we live on has made its annual five hundred and eighty-four million mile trek around the sun, and most of us have come through the trip reasonably well. Even if you didn’t, you can hopefully encourage yourself along with the rest of us that a new year symbolizes new beginnings. A new year offers us a clean slate; a new start; a proverbial mulligan shot to replace any of life’s faux pas we have had the previous year. Even those lingering problems that just won’t go away by the change of the calendar can still take on a different perspective if we can take a moment to view it in a new light.
Then again, maybe some things are a little harder to look at in a new light. For instance, the window in our bonus room is still cracked, thanks to my zealous desire to try to repair it, when I should have just left it alone until it could be replaced. Sadly, it is one of those specialty windows that you can’t replace the glass easily, and to find a comparable window has been hard. I was able to get the broken thing closed, and if no one touches or breathes on it, it may hold together a while longer. So far the only “new light” I can see regarding this window is the refracted light shining through a huge vertical crack down the center of it. I’m still not sure when the “new beginning” replacement will take place, but it eventually will. Along with the window situation there are also bills from last year that need to be paid, the cars in the driveway are in need of servicing, and I still have some emotional and mental baggage left over from the previous year to deal with. Even so, if I try hard enough, I can still picture January as a fresh shot off the starting line in the next leg of the marathon of life.
That is what I tried to do today. I brewed a fresh pot of New Year’s coffee, then sat and pondered over things I accomplished, the good times we had as a family, and even how we came though some difficult moments this past year . Then I thought about all the new possibilities the coming year might bring. I also reminded myself of some notable new beginnings that Januaries past have given me.
The first notable January beginning I can think of is my own birth. I was born on last week of a very snowy January. My mother and I had an extended hospital stay due to the snowy weather. The doctor didn’t want us going home with treacherous roads and icy sidewalks, which was probably a good thing for both of us. Having a January birthday may be one reason I end up looking positively into the future each year. Even though each one reminds me I am not getting any younger, there’s still a lot to be thankful for and to be positive about. My wife always tells me that age, and the date on the calendar are “just numbers” and they shouldn’t discourage me. I wonder if she feels the same way about those “just numbers” on the bathroom scale. I don’t think I should ask her that question, since my birthday is just around the corner and I want it to be an enjoyable one.
Even my spiritual birth began on a January several years ago. That particular January was an all time low and an all time high at the same time. Someone once said “When we are at our lowest point we are open to the greatest change”. A great change happened that one winter evening, one that I have reflected on with gratitude every year since.
Another notable new beginning was the January closing day of our first home purchase. I remember waking up that morning and thinking about all the papers we would be signing and how momentous the occasion was. The thought of purchasing our own home was exciting enough, but my wife added to the excitement by crawling back into bed that morning to tell me that the “stick had turned blue” and, “It is a good thing our new house has four bedrooms”.
Januaries are new beginnings for a lot of people besides me. I think that’s why New Year’s resolutions are so popular. Fitness centers, weight loss organizations, and civic organizations have noticeable spikes in membership. Many companies begin their fiscal years in January, with new budgets and sales projections. Now, if only banks would do their part and wipe a few debts off at the beginning of each year, it would be a real fresh start for many of us. Of course that will never happen; because just like my cracked window, a new year is a time for new beginnings and a fresh new attitude, but not a perfectly clean slate.