Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Starting Date

I slept in until noon today. Even that bright, glowing orb working its way across my horizonal dome was unable to persuade me to rise from restful slumber. It was a beautiful, lazy, easy way to start this new year, a relaxed entry into another year of my life. My ALS symptoms began in the spring of 2011. I was diagnosed in the fall of 2012. I spent 2013 getting used to this illness and its ways. Things will happen in 2014, of that there is no doubt. The disease will progress and I will regress. There is no need to wonder, no point in worry. I might as well sleep in, today at least.

Last night I went out to a New Year's Party. This arbitrary date, dedicated to the celebration of the Roman god Janus as well as the deification of Julius Ceaser, has been celebrated since pagan times, before the birth of Christ. Janus has long been depicted as having two faces, one looking forward and one looking back. This idea, that the first of January, so named for the Roman god, was the first of the year has been around for a long time, yet still the date was set by mankind, either by tradition or fiat.

In reality, for each of us, individually, our new year is our birthday. This is when life began. The celebration of a common new year is more linked to the social needs for the confirmation of life and the continuation of living. This choice of date is common only to those under the Roman tradition. We all know that other societies in other parts of the world have chosen different dates to celebrate the successful completion of a single solar rotation, celebrating with joy the simple reality that the world did not end, along with the hope that it will continue as it has before.

For me, each year used to start with my birthday, the steady move from one year to the next, my personal calendar incrementing. This whole New Year's Day celebration was more just a good reason for a party and some fun. Now my date has changed. For me, November 20th is now my New Year's Day. It was the day I was diagnosed, the day I learned about ALS. I mark my calendar from that day, each day an incremental move down my life's pathway towards an inevitable outcome. Of course everyone faces that outcome; I just have a different start date.

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