Even though the tick of the clock from 11:59.59 on December 31 to midnight on January 1st of a new year is a pretty stupid reason to suddenly declare a fresh start (because, really, fresh starts are available whenever we want them), I still buy into the New Year’s idea.
When 2014 burst into the present, I thought, Yeah, a clean slate. I took 2013 to the blocks — except for all those times it dominated me — and now, 2014, you’re next!
But I do a weird thing at the start of each new year: I clean house.
By that I mean, for the first few days in January, I try to do everything perfectly. I try to make everything the best.
Maybe it’s because it makes me feel intentional or literary, or because I subconsciously think every action taken at the beginning of a new year is symbolic for the next 364 days, or just because it’s a convenient excuse to lean into some OCD tendencies. But it’s like I see New Year’s Day and the few days after as representative of the year.
It’s sort of a get-off-to-a-good-start mentality. I cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s. It’s as though I’m in the first mile of a marathon, and I take every precaution not to fall on my face.
I eat extra healthy (first foods of 2014 were tomatoes and eggs); I start off super clean (I brushed my teeth for five minutes last night — check out this enamel!); I put a lot of effort into being especially gentle and merciful and patient; I wash all the dishes and organize my bookshelves; I spend more time than usual in prayer; I adopt extra diligence at work, put in extra effort at home, and invest extra time in relationships. Last year, I even started off the year with a haircut and a clean shave — but this year I decided I preferred not to look 15 again.
But that’s the sort of way it goes.
I’m a little bit of a perfectionist all the time, but at the start of a new year, its perfectionism in overdrive. Symmetry. Clealiness. Healthiness. Doing things right.
None of these are specific resolutions. It’s more a vague life resolution: be better.
I don’t believe in omens, but I do believe in setting the tone.
Call it quirky or weird or crazy, and definitely call it OCD, but I like it. Setting a precedent. Falling into a groove. Laying the groundwork for good habits. Looking 2014 dead in the eye and saying, “Listen up: this is how it’s gonna be.”
This year the tone looks good. (Of course, last year at midnight on January 1 I had locked me and my friends out of my apartment, and it was, shall we say, bitterly, bitingly, Hoth-esque cold — so, by comparison, this year has been nirvana.)
So let’s get on with it. Let’s be deliberate. And, heyo, I’m not trying to break into my own apartment with a credit card and a coat hanger; so, 2014, it looks like we’re off to a friendly start. And if you turn, then do your worst, and we will keep on bringing it.