A Beginner’s Mind

Start the new year with a beginner’s mind

What’s so new about the new year?

US Catholic January 2017
 By Alice Camille
When someone wishes us a Happy New Year, too often the spirit of the cynic is tempted to rise up from its subterranean swamp in our souls. What’s so new about it, after all? Why be happy about turning a calendar page? The difference between December and January is an incremental movement of a second hand on an analog clock. Or the merest flicker on a digital timepiece. If you’re flooded with free calendars every year, as I am, January 1 is mostly about choosing whether to spend the next 12 months looking at pictures of monkeys, dolphins, flowers, or fruit bowls.

Is there anything new about a new year? When we look out the window, we don’t see what month it is or the day of the week, much less 2017. Our construct of time is attached to seasons that sometimes transition as they should and, more often in this era of climate change, do unexpected things. And, if this is the case, is there really even such a thing as January? If all timekeeping devices vanished overnight, every last flashing LED date stamp disappeared, how long would it take until we stopped saying “Happy New Year” and forgot to thank God it’s Friday?

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