Here we are, at the start of another year. It seems to come faster and faster every year. However, being me, I don’t just count down from ten, blow the noise maker, kiss my wife and party it up. Here is how my mind works = what the hell? Why am I blowing a noise maker? Who decided this is when the calendar flips? Why do I care? The kicker is, being me, I am NOT content to shrug and move on. So, though I doubt ANYONE but me has these questions and cares, read on my friends.
The current calendar we use is the Gregorian (AKA Western or Christian) calendar. This is the most used calendar today. It is an adaptation or refinement of the Julian calendar that dates back to 1582. Now, if you were to look at a Julian calendar you would most likely not immediately see a difference. They have the same 12 months, in the same order, and of the same lengths. What then you may ask is the difference? Well, okay, you may not ask that, but again, I did. The difference is that both calendars are actually an approximation of the calendar year, the Julian calendar was simply too long by tenths of time, and actual length of 365.25 days, and the Gregorian calendar is 365.2425 days – a length difference of .002%. Seriously. The major reason this was done was typical of the day – to correct the celebration of Easter back closer to the spring equinox as was originally decided during the First Council of Nicaea in 325. Under the Julian calendar, Easter continued getting earlier and earlier. The Roman Catholic Church worked to correct this and the Gregorian calendar was born. *Fun Fact – the Julian calendar is currently approximately 13 days behind, since the Gregorian calendar started by skipping 10 actual calendar days to get the vernal equinox back to the March 21 date that worked best for the Church.*
So, here we are, in year 2014 under the Gregorian calendar, still celebrating something that has been going since 2000 B.C. in Mesopotamia. It was really cemented in 42 B.C. by the Romans, who raised Julius Caesar to a deity on January 1st and honored his reinvented (Julian) calendar after his murder on the senate floor. Now we have a period of remembrance, looking back at the past year, and analyzing every major event. This all culminates in a night of jubilation and partying the world over on what has become to be known as New Years Eve (NYE). On actual January 1st, there are many traditions, from family to religious to sporting events and parades.
I still am not sure that I get the big party and celebration. Personally, my celebration comes on (surprise, surprise) Shark Week Eve, but this is where my lives philosophy comes in – to each their own. I want to party before the new Shark Week specials; others want to ring in the coming year. See, how I figure it…I know that Shark Week is going to be good. I will get to see old shows that I love, I will see new documentaries that are enlightening, maybe even a mockumentary I really see no need for but is entertaining. I do not know what the upcoming year will bring, so why ring it in anywhere but in my bed, with pjs ready to go to sleep. The past few years have brought huge changes, from good – marriage, career, volunteering opportunities – to bad – old jobs, fights with family and friends – to horrible – sick parents, debilitating sickness, lasting injuries. And that is how it is. I am not celebrating nor complaining about these things – life happens. Every minute of every day of every week of EVERY YEAR. It is tradition for so many people that I sometimes wonder if anyone else wonders why we litter Rockefeller Center with confetti every December 31st or if it is so familiar to them, they don’t give it a second thought. For those who love to party it up as one year ends and another begins, I say good for you. It shows an optimism and faith I am not sure I have ever truly been able to muster up, and therefore a part of me is jealous of it. Rock on whether you are an optimist who waits for midnight with bated breath or one who does not care at all and just rolls over to spend it like you would any late night – these are the differences that make life interesting, right?