Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy New Day

Happy New Year. There's a lot I could say about being happy, and having another year. One of the first is that this date is in no way significant, neither for calendar nor astronomical reasons. It is just an arbitrary day chosen to celebrate the beginning of a new calendar, primarily here in the western world. The date of the New Year has changed throughout history and by location. Even for our dominant western society, the choice of January 1st as New Years Day has only been in place for about 500 years, coming into play in about 1582.

In times gone by, New Years Day has variously been celebrated on March 1st, March 25th, Easter, September 1st, and even December 25th. These dates are all based on the old Julian calendar, as opposed to our supposedly modern Gregorian calendar. Never mind us, the Chinese and most eastern Asian countries celebrate the Lunar New Year, the new moon of the first Lunar month after the winter solstice. Muslims use a lunar new year as well, in a year of only 354 days, so their New Years Day moves about on an annual basis.

All of this is to say that our proclamations of Happy New Year are completely arbitrary. I prefer to thing of every day as the start of a new year, one day at a time. Each morning I get a chance to start again. Given my prognosis for this year, I would prefer to think in terms of weeks, or perhaps months, rather than years. A year is a long time, a long way away. Here I am trapped in a social construct which predicates almost everything on the assumption that a year is a reasonable time frame. Not for me.

Happy New Day. Happy New Week. Perhaps Happy New Month. Each of these is a celebration, at least for me. Each of these is an event, a success of survival. Each of this is a marker, a milestone in my life. Happy New Year is no better, or worse, than any other happy day. I want as many as I can get. I plan on celebrating each of them. I'm happy I am still here. When I am not here, then I will be unhappy... maybe.

How about November 22nd? That's the date of my diagnosis. Perhaps that is my Happy New Year. Every time I pass that date, I will really celebrate. With any luck, this year will see a treatment for ALS. Then it really will be a happy new year.


  1. Did you see Star Wars? What did you think?

    1. Yes I did. Loved it. Hoping to live long enough to see the next installment.

    2. I worry about that too sometimes.

  2. We do not know each other and I found your blog quite by accident but it gives me strength. My husband was diagnosed in October of 2015. Already he can barely walk, hs body is failing fast. But knowing you are fighting through each day helps me. Thank you.