In my last post I extended my good wishes to all for Christmas and New Year. Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, January is waning and February looms on the horizon. It’s incredible how time seems to evaporate!
Our family had a quiet Christmas and we celebrated New Year with a friend who came to stay. We spent quite some time talking about 2016 – its highs and lows – as well as contemplating what 2017 what might bring.
No doubt our conversation was mirrored by hundreds of thousands of similar conversations the world over. Every year I marvel at the strange phenomenon that is New Year; our need to draw the line under the previous year and strike out fresh in the next. Some people set goals, some make resolutions but, above all, hope hangs tangibly in the air with the prospect of things being different or better. Sometimes we even hope we’ll be different or better.
The thing that strikes me most throughout this process is the fact that January 1st is really only the day after December 31st. You go to bed one night and wake up in the next day. We do this every day of year. Yet because of our modern calendar, customs, traditions and timekeeping this particular dawning of a new day takes on a whole new significance.
It brings me to the realisation that we as people need new beginnings. We need to draw that line and put the past behind us. We need new vistas full of promise and empty of errors. We need to set a new course, regroup and refocus. And, again above all, we need the hope that come from what might be rather than what is.
Alexander Pope wrote these rather profound words in An Essay on Man:
Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never is, but always to be blessed:
The soul, uneasy and confined from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
I’m far from immune from this process. I have plenty of plans for 2017 both in my writing and personal life and just as much hope for their fulfillment (and more) as the next person. One day I would even like to write a novel based around this idea of new beginnings, I think. And, although January has already had its share of ups and downs, hope really does spring eternal for me too. Let me know your thoughts. What do you hope for this year?