Many traditions associated with New Year’s Day are related to the idea that we get a renewal, or a fresh start on January 1. In images, the “old year” is represented as an old man and the new year as a baby. (The old year is always a man—a sexist tradition!) The idea of making New Year’s resolutions implies we have a special chance to transform ourselves once a year.
Even the greeting “Happy New Year” suggests that one year may be fundamentally different from another. The Chinese zodiac goes even further by identifying the year with an animal and its reputed attributes.
I’ve never been in the habit of making New Year’s resolutions. It may be because the amount of change in my life gives me plenty of fresh starts that have nothing to do with the New Year.
As a Foreign Service Officer I switch jobs, homes, cities and countries every two or three years. It’s always stressful to end one assignment and begin another, but I love the life. Every day is different and every day I learn something new.
So for me, personally, September 1, 2010, the day I arrived in Hyderabad, was a much more important new beginning that New Year’s Day, January 1, 2011. I have to say, so far it’s been a very “Happy New Assignment” for me and Azim.
Even if the New Year is not the most significant milestone we pass, I hope we all have a happy, peaceful and fulfilling 2011.