One rotation of the Earth around the Sun has been completed, though the Earth does not mark the passage. Its inhabitants do, although not always on the same day. It would not really matter what day you chose, but given the calendar, we choose January 1st to mark the New Year.
And we resolve to do better, each and every year. Lose weight. Be more charitable. Be more tolerant. Work harder. Play harder. Spend more time with our kids.
And these resolutions fail.
They fail, mainly because though the pages on the calendar change, we do not. Those thoughts, predilections, and predispositions we carry with us every day follow us into the next year, ready to wreak havoc again, even as we get our new year off to a good start.
Of course we are also beset by forces we cannot control. When last year began, who was actually prepared for the coming recession? How many of us had plans for new homes and new cars derailed by the economy? How many of us thought when the year ended that we would have no job?
For all that we bemoan the passing of the old year and celebrate the coming of the new year, the things that truly affect us remain. Turning the page on the calendar does not magically wipe away all that came before.
If we are to give this ritual meaning, if we truly want to change, then it is not enough to resolve to do these things, we must do them. We must stick with them. We must weather all the vagaries that come because of the changes we make. We must not let others derail or deter us from changing course.
If we take anything at all from 2008, let us remember that change happens, but not without effort, drive, and desire. For change to take place, we must will it into existence. We must expend all the energy we can to strive for our goals. If we do that, expend maximum effort and rebuff those things that would alter our course, then maybe, just maybe, we can finally change the world.
I wish all of you peace, prosperity, happiness, and above all, hope, in the coming year. May we all be richer for this trip around the Sun.