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It’s 2008. I think. The calendar on my computer says so, but the Mayan culture will probably beg to differ.

What I noticed this new year was the number of people who were so thankful that the calendar turned over again because last year sucked. The number of “Happy New Year’s” that were followed with a “Let’s not do 2007 again, huh?” or something along those lines were astounding. For a few of my friends, it really, legitimately sucked. Death and major injury seemed to be a tragic theme in the lives of people I know. They are, naturally, exempt from this diatribe since they can say 2007 sucked with integrity that no one would ever question.

I also am not saying that whoever says 2007 sucked doesn’t have integrity, my diatribe is of another sort. It’s worth noting that the people I know who had the worst years are also the ones who have never said openly, at least to me or in my presence, that 2007 was a horrible year. Oh, an I’ll probably use the word “suck” quite a lot. I’ve had a beer tonight. Extensive vocabulary is no longer required. The topic came to me this morning during the Rose Parade though, for reasons that defy the normal rules of logic and sanity, so the beer wasn’t inspiration, either, and that seems important to note.

2007 was probably hard for a lot of people that didn’t experience death and major injury. I had my own moments and everyone has many days that just don’t go well, jobs that are far from fun every day of the year, perfect relationships with all other humans on the planet, etc. What bothers me about the number of people who are thankful for a new start are the number of them that assume that everyone else’s 2007 sucked, too.

I think it’s normal to take our own emotional, spiritual, and intellectual experiences and assume that everyone else feels the same way or would if they were in our shoes. We only have one frame of reference for those experiences: our own. It still seems strange that, despite the large number of people that have had good years and have shared their joy with their friends, the new year is still a time of thankfulness that that’s all over and done with and we can start fresh again at last. Christmas is over, the shopping is done, time to get ready for the debt we may have incurred, plan the New Year’s party, execute the New Year’s party, and finally rest and thank God that’s over with.

When did the default experience of the holiday season that is December become a thing to get past and finished with? I think we all had a good time celebrating as much as we could, but the biggest topic of conversation was how much people couldn’t wait to get to January (I admit, I said that myself more than once). Hello? The credit card bills will come in January. Surely at the very least, we don’t want to rush to that point, right? At best, isn’t the season supposed to be about something great and wonderful? That being God ditching His seat at the high point of the cosmos to go through the wonderful process that is birth and all that follows, like puberty and death, depending on your religious persuasion. Seriously, who volunteers for that if they don’t have to? That’s huge! How we can give a rat’s ass about whether “the party” went well or the effect of capitalism on the holiday when there’s that to ponder and contend with? I don’t do that very well myself, but still. Seems like we can be a bit more positive about the whole season at least, right? Why such a rush to get past a time to celebrate such a momentous, odd, and generally insane thing for an All-Powerful being to do?

2008 is a fresh start and I welcome it. Not because 2007 was all that bad (mine was pretty damn good, I’ll have another one of those, thank you). It’s a chance to continue and repeat the good things and grow from the tragic ones. Looking back on the year before should be about deciding what to take forward, not just what to leave behind. I suppose that’s a task for every day. It’s nice to have a new start to make it a bit easier, though.

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