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LARSON: Celebrate a new year all year long

Stan Hall made a valid point in his in this past Sunday's Daily Post. He expressed how exasperated he gets with everyone in the world who has airtime or column space rehashing events and issues of the past year. Best of, worst of, top 100s, you name it, Hall says he gets pretty sick of hearing it all again.

"Instead of looking back each year at this time, I wish that we could just look forward. That is what is really important at this juncture. Not much that we can do about last year, but we are in a prime position to make next year better," Hall wrote.

He went on to tell about his grandfather's mule Susie who was distracted from plowing by always looking behind until he put blinders on her so she could only look forward.

Hall proposed ways we as a nation could benefit by only looking forward, but I pondered how difficult that can be even on an individual level. Look at those new year resolutions we make. Less than a week into the year we're already looking back at that diet we haven't stuck to or that exercise program we've fallen down on. The year has only begun and we're already kicking ourselves for failures in a very recent past.

But why do we have to gauge our year by mainstream society's standards? In a county as culturally diverse as Gwinnett, if we bomb in the beginning of the secular year, can't we just piggyback onto someone else's new year?

Jan. 23 marks the Chinese New Year, which in 2012 is the Year of the Dragon. Just forget about those broken resolutions. In two weeks you can mash your reset button.

I see no reason why we can't go back to the original new year's observance. The first recorded new year celebration was in Mesopotamia around 2000 B.C. at the time of the vernal equinox, which this year will be March 20. It makes a lot of sense to me seeing how all of nature comes back to life at that time of year. And for those who are into astrology, Aries, the first sign of the zodiac, starts the celestial circle at zero degrees. After the birth of Christ, the designated new year date shifted around for centuries. It wasn't until 1582 that Jan. 1 was established in the Gregorian calendar, but even today many people including Hindus and Baha'is still hail back to Mesopotamian time.

We have Rosh Hashanah the Jewish New Year on Sept. 16 and the Islamic New Year on Nov. 14. And for liturgical Christians, the first day of Advent, which is on Dec. 2, starts the upcoming Church Year.

So if your year seems to be having a bad start, don't be discouraged and don't despair. Follow Hall's advice and keep looking ahead, for there's another new year a comin.'

Susan Larson is a writer who lives in Lilburn. Email her at susanlarson79@gmail.com.

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