I realize that we all spend our lives following and repeating a strict 3-Act structure in the way we conduct ourselves. We all start of explosively, full of energy and excitement, if in want for some focus and direction; we then wind down into a casual pace, but still keeping a snappiness in our step, the energy slowly wearing off as obstacles after obstacles are thrown our way; and somewhere around the 75% mark, we get thrown a curveball, and we spent a great deal of time and emotions bringing resolution to everything that has built up so far. Finally, we spend the last 10% of our time only properly enjoying what we have.
This is true, I find, for both the human lifespan and the Gregorian year.
You could also say that our lives play out in a 2-Act structure. We spent half our time doing things and making things happen without thinking through their consequences, and then we spent the other half of our time reacting to things that happen to us, also bearing the full weight of our actions, and resolving them as well as we reasonably can.
In many ways, I think that the further we go in life, the more we desire to backtrack into a time when things we simpler and the days were blither. On a macro level, this of course refers to the evolution of thought through the aging years. But I realize that the year also repeats this cycle every time it comes around, albeit on a smaller scale.
Every January, we wake up earlier. We eat healthier. We exercise more. We’re kinder. We’re more patient. We’re generally better behaved, nicer, more magnanimous, and generally all-rounder better people. The year starts off red-hot, passion blazing, excitement buzzing. It cools off over a period of months, and it’s usually about April or May that we begin to cut ourselves a little bit of slack. Come July, we’ve already set ourselves into a routine of normalcy; and by October, God help whoever pisses us off on a bad day.
Then, of course, the Christmas season comes around and revives our spirits all over again, so that we may repeat the cycle.
So when the new year rolls around, what we do isn’t so much of throwing out the old things and bringing in new things. It’s more like a costume change from our winter wear into our summer clothes. We’re going back to the person that we were at the beginning of the year – that kinder, nicer, motivated person. With every year that passes, our resolutions and promises to ourselves mostly involves going back to the person that we were 5, 10, 20, or 40 years ago – the person who was younger, healthier, and happier.
So to those of you whose new year resolutions involve reinventing yourselves, fret not – you don’t have to do anything so difficult. Only remember what you were before, and roll back into that previous version of you. It’s really easier than it sounds; and since everyone is doing it, regardless of whether they realize it or not, it’s also more acceptable than it sounds.
As 2014 rolls around, I say out with the new, and in with the old. Here’s to the old us.