Just as my family loaded up our car with all our recently received gifts and a week’s worth of luggage last week, my mother hurried out the door with something in her hands. We were about to drive away from my parents’ home after a Christmas visit, when in the middle of the driveway, she said, “Here, we’ve got more calendars than we know what to do with. Take these, if y’all can use them.”
She handed me not two calendars, not three, but four 2012 calendars.
Though I expect I’ll primarily be using the electronic calendar on my phone that syncs with my computer, I appreciated the variety and beauty of the calendars my mom shared with my family.
One from the Easter Seals with a bright sunshine made of handprints on the cover.
A 16-month Special Olympics calendar.
A Garden Walk calendar from the bank my parents have used my entire life.
And a pretty, brown leather bound calendar from a poultry vaccination company.
Quite an assembly of ways to plan for and look toward the coming year.
There’s comfort in these calendars for some reason. For one thing, there’s a sense of present-tense nostalgia these days with a printed calendar. For another, there’s that little thrill that goes with a full calendar with a year in print out in front of you.
Today represents the metaphor of a blank slate—a whole year wide open in front of us, full of possibilities.
It is why we start exercising at this time.
It is why we make decisions to improve our lives in a variety of ways on this day full of promise and prospects. On this day, no matter how many new years we’ve welcomed, the world is our oyster.
And yet we know next year at this same time, if the good Lord is willing and the creek doesn’t rise, we’ll be having the same thoughts and saying the same things at this same time. We’ll do it all over again like the Roman god Janus who had the ability to look toward the past and the future simultaneously. Janus, as the god of gates and doorways, represents exactly where we find ourselves today.
Maybe part of why this time of year is especially poignant is because it’s more alike from year to year, than the months in between. The rest of the year is so full of so much and that fullness morphs in activities and people from year to year, but often this day and the week that proceeds it have an air of sameness to them that the rest of the year misses. We know and reflect on exactly who and what have been added to the mix or is missing from one year to the next.
From this vantage point, we can look behind us at where we’ve just been and ahead to where we’re going. We don’t know what’s there, but we recognize that this is the place that begins a new chapter—and that offers a fresh sense of control.
This is a time to reflect on the lessons life is offering us and make deliberate choices about which paths to choose and which steps to take. We can reflect on how to change our lives for the better.
If we’re resisting what is, today is the perfect day to take a look at the situation and figure out how to either make it work or make a change to create something that works better. Part of the secret is realizing that making it work is up to each of us an individuals. Even if fault lies with another, blaming the situation or circumstances on anyone or anything else is pointless.
Today is a day to relish the wonder of possibility the blank pages of the calendar holds.