First, a happy and peaceful New Year to everyone. My primary wish for everyone is to remain safe from the implacable invisible and deadly virus(es) that continue to haunt our every move. New Year is, of course, not always an entirely happy occasion. It marks time in an odd way, just as we mark hours, days, weeks, and months but it reminds some of us of lost friends and family for the multitude of reasons that bring human lives to an end. And those battling illness of one kind or another. Perhaps it’s the inevitability of that end, always uncertain in timing, that leads so many to celebrate the New Year as if something real had occurred other than an artificial change in the calendar. One day it’s 2022 and the next day it’s 2023.
I for one am consciously grateful to still be here to reflect on this ritual and share every right-thinking person’s hopes that the future will be better than the past, especially the recent past. We are still scarred from our year of the pandemic in New York City. Maybe we always will be, but we also can choose to believe that better times do indeed lie in the future.
That’s true despite the war in Ukraine, the threat of climate change, and the fact that violence against people and the country continue largely unaddressed.
But enough of that. As I reflect on the absurdity of our excess enthusiasm for the “new year,” I also see the value of marking the time as a new beginning and not just an ending. And in doing that we do “start over” in some way and, I hope, commit to doing better, doing good, helping those who cannot help themselves, being kind and as generous as circumstances allow, recognizing the value of those who are simply different than us, respecting science, and reflecting always on the reality that each of us is finite and will not live forever. Time moves in one direction only and, once consumed, can never be recaptured or replayed.
So we should, we must, cherish the time we have, share with open hearts and, as the ending of a science fiction book, title lost to memory, that I read many years ago ended, “love one another.” There is no other way.