It’s a new year, and I want to talk about the not often discussed phenomenon: December 31st The Great Disappearing Day!
We’ve all experienced the magic of January 1st. The clock turns and we begin to slough off the gluttony of the season and think sensibly again. We dust off and update our Weight Watchers apps. We tuck holiday candies into the back corners of freezers, or throw them out if we’re really hard core. Or, if we’re not so hard core, we might consume them in a last fit of frenzy. There will be no comment at this time about which category I fit in.
People begin to start thinking about the old standards of healthy living. Things like carrot sticks, coconut oil and kale. We drink water, chop through the flesh of crisp vegetables, lace up shoes and in every way we are taking steps to a better us. Then scales creak and tell sad tales and we take the pill of the bad news with the glass of “So this is where I start.”
We look at many of our life goals with the same desire to put away the old and start new. We buy day planners and organizing bins. We pin house project ideas and concepts for laundry “systems” to pinterest pages titled “It’s A New Year!!!”
I don’t need to take a long time explaining how the start of the year fills me with hope. I see the year stretching before me and everything seems possible. I can make a lasting change in my life. I can be different. I am in charge of my future days. They will bend to my will. We all understand this feeling.
I am fascinated by the power of this day. Mostly because these feelings of hope and encouragement don’t happen often for me. It’s not every morning that I wake up thinking I have the year in my pocket instead of the last of the holiday candy.
But this year, I realized that, for me, the magic does not lie in January 1st, but in December 31st: the day that is forgotten. December 31st is the day that I easily leave behind. December 31st is not a particularly healthy or productive day. But I don’t wake up on the 1st lamenting the night before. The day and all its mistakes are gone in the light of that enchanted morning.
I am amazed at the spirit of forgiveness of oneself that I feel on January 1st. I am willing to forgive myself of all of it – a night of snacking, a season of bad choices, sugary drinks, and heavy meals. Months of procrastinating projects and letting clutter and dust build. I take in the stock of a whole year, the good and the bad, and then let it go like chaff in the wind. I rest in the fact I can’t change what has been done, and it wasn’t all bad. Then I take a deep breath and move forward. What is this midnight magic?
Any other morning I wake up still taking stock of the day before. I wake up deciding, based on yesterday, if I can get my life and diet back on track. I wake up weighed down.
But not on the shining new penny that is January 1st. Why can’t I do this every day? Why can I so easily forgive myself for a whole year that night, and not forgive myself of a day or so any other night of the year?
Do I need the ritual? Should I count down every night till midnight, blow a noise maker, kiss my husband, toast with something bubbly, let go of the day I just had, and embrace the next? This seems gratuitous and crazy (but a little fun).
I just want to remember this me. This “it all is still possible” me. Maybe I don’t count down every night, but what about at the turning of every month? Walk into the 1st of every month with the freshness of a new year. Or what about every Sunday night, countdown and face Monday free from any weekend shackles, ready to take on all that I have set out to do?
So this year, I am going to try to feel the freedom of a clean slate every morning. Not just to live everyday like it’s January 1st. But to live every day like yesterday was December 31st.