Coloring My New Year by Pat Bertram

I’ve never really celebrated New Year’s because it doesn’t mean much to me. It’s a relatively arbitrary date. The calendar numbers change, but that’s all. It’s not a universal new beginning. The Chinese New Year this year is on January 31, the Jewish New Year is on September 24, the Persian New Year is March 20, the Korean New Year is January 31, the Tibetan New Year begins on January 31 , and various communities in the Hindu religion have different dates — January 14, March 31, April 14, April 15.

calendar_2014January 1 is not even the beginning of a new season or of a solar cycle such as a solstice or an equinox. Nor is there any personal demarcation — no black line separates the old from the new. The world is no different today from yesterday, nor are we. We carry the old year with us because you have the same problems, sadnesses, hopes, fears.

There is a newness to January 1, though, and that is the newness of a new calendar.

Like school kids with stiff new clothes and a satchel full of crayons, unread books, and blank paper, we are ready to set out on an adventure, trembling with both trepidation and excitement. Our new calendars have 365 blank squares. How will we will those squares? With notations of appointments and special days, of course. Perhaps with reminders of bills to pay and chores to do. But many of those days will be blank. What we will do with those blank days? Will we search for happiness or a new love? Will we recommit to an old love or strive to attain a better level of health? Will we experience new things, meet new people, visit new places, sample new foods?

I do feel that particular newness today, that hope. I’ve had marvelous adventures the past past year — going to Seattle to see Shen Yun, riding in a limousine, hiking with the Sierra Club, making new friends, attending parties and performances. I’ve walked hundreds of miles in the desert, posted 500 bloggeries, learned dozens of delightful new words (my favorite is eupathy), shared many meals, laughed untold times, and exchanged thousands of smiles. It hasn’t all been wonderful, of course, but somehow I found the strength and courage to deal with the trying times. I cried when I needed to, threw my griefs into the blogosphere, talked about (or rather, talked around) a heartbreaking family situation. And I survived. Even thrived.

And now I have 365 blank days on my new calendar. I plan on getting out my box of crayons and coloring those days brightly.

I hope your days will be filled with wonder, new adventures, and much joy.

Happy New Year.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”

3 Comments

Filed under life, Pat Bertram

3 responses to “Coloring My New Year by Pat Bertram

  1. I feel at a loss this year. Last year’s New Year’s Eve I was working and an hour or so after the new year had begun I was there crossing the Sydney Harbor Bridge on foot. There were boats with colored lights from old time sailing vessels to modern pleasure cruisers. The water was awash with reds and oranges and blues. This year I spend New Years Eve for the first time in five years at home. I’m not sure what this means to my future. It was a nice change if that is all it was. I have 365 odd days to figure it out. I was given a very special calendar this year dealing with early flight. Maybe that says something. I will seek a better way of life in the new year and I’m still not too old to seek my fortune. Good luck to everyone.

  2. I drank a bottle of champagne (the best bottle I’ve ever had) with my fiancee this year, with high hopes for 2014, including marriage.

    You’re right, though, Pat. On whichever day one celebrates a new year, it is largely symbolic, what we make it. Although change is inevitable in some ways, the type of changes we resolve to make rarely happen without effort.

    Best wishes to you, Pat, for the new year and all your literary endeavors.

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