We just celebrated a change in era, a slight shift in the timeline. 2017 has officially ended and gone away, and 2018 is here, calling for changes and resolutions.
As humans, it is good for us to have pivotal moments, landmarks so to speak, for us to gauge our progress. In Judaism, we have many: the New Year (Rosh HaShanah) in the fall, Passover—which is the new year of months, Yom Kippur to wipe our spiritual slates clean, Hanukkah to remind us to rededicate ourselves to God, and pretty much every other Jewish holiday that gives us a chance for new beginnings. However, in our secular culture, we have New Year’s Day. An arbitrary change of date that symbolizes the opportunity to change within.
When thinking about your past year, how did you feel? Was it an incredible year? Was it a hard year? Perhaps even the worst year yet? Or was it the best year you’ve had that you can remember?
If you are honest with yourself, you would probably say that there were fantastic times of complete happiness, and there were also times of deep sadness and despair. If you look back on every year, perhaps you would see the same thing—happy and sad wrapped up into one year. You see, the years don’t change all that much; the events change, but the rollercoaster of good and bad constantly fluctuates and always will for the rest of our lives. No one year will ever be perfect, free of stress, sadness, or pain, or free of joy, happiness, and rejoicing. The years will not change, we have to be the ones who change.
When we change within, when we grow and mature, we can better handle life’s pains with grace and faith. We can allow the bad circumstances in our lives to strengthen us, not to send us into the depths of despair. And we can allow the sweet moments to be savored, and count our blessings for each precious moment.
Mountains have been leveled into sandy shores by the continual, persistent banging of the ocean tides. The tides are not always strong, sometimes they are gentle or non-existent, and sometimes they swirl within a tempest. For thousands of years, the tides have remained what they always were, but the mountains and the cliffs have given way. They have conformed; they changed.
We must change as well. We must conform and grow, strengthen and soften. The years will roll out their best and their worst, the only difference is how we receive it.
Every day is a new beginning, but it is a pivotal beginning on our Gregorian calendars. Seize the moment. Become a newer, better version of yourself. Become a godlier person. A kinder, more loving person. Everything is new; the slate is clean and fresh. This year can be even better than last because you can be a better you. Happy New Year.