Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy New Year!

Does celebrating the New Year on January 1st seem completely arbitrary to anyone else? Particularly midnight on January 1st? I mean, how often is midnight actually the middle of the night if you don't live on the equator? Also, what on earth is January 1st connected to? It's just some arbitrary date and time, it seems.  I have been nurturing such thoughts for years, and stopped celebrating at midnight, preferring instead to get up and see the dawn. But it seems to me that the new year really begins today, after the solstice, after the longest night of the year, so now I'm inclined to stop celebrating New Year on January 1st at all, apart from acknowledging that it's the start of the new calendar year. Or something.

As I want to get (even) more in tune with my crunchy granola side, I've been looking to ways to celebrate the solstices more. So I now put up my "Christmas" decorations on December 21st, which I did yesterday. I mean, I do celebrate Christmas with the family. I do go to church then. I was raised Christian and at various times have tried to be a good Christian. But when push comes to shove, I just don't believe a lot of it and the older I get the less inclined I am to try, preferring instead to concentrate on Buddhism and other teachings. Not that I won't celebrate and give thanks for Christ's birth, being as he was a great spiritual teacher - I just don't think he was all that different from Buddha or Mohammed in the grand scheme of things (it's the whole "only son of God" and virgin birth thing I have a problem with, oh, and the Easter thing, not the underlying message of his teachings). AND, he wasn't really born on December 25th, was he? The Christians just co-opted the old pagan winter solstice celebrations and moved 'em a few days. Where was I? Oh yes, so really my decorations are winter solstice/Christmas decorations. So that's when I put them up, to light up the longest night of the year. I'm trying to make it my official start of my holidays, which, yes, will encompass Christmas and New Year's Day, but I think a 2-week period starting on the solstice is a good time period.

Which brings me neatly to New Year's Resolutions. I love me some resolutions. I love that feeling of renewal, of promising to be a better person, of taking some time to reflect and see what it is that I really should be doing better in my life. Not that I always follow through and complete them, but at least I spend some time thinking.  And I have decided that if I'm moving my New Year celebration to December 22nd, and kicking off the holidays now, then today is a good time to formally start my New Year's Resolutions too (I often start them early anyway, as soon as I think of what it is that I want to do). Not that I won't overeat and overdrink on Christmas day, you understand!

Thusly -

I resolve this coming year to:

1. Floss. At least 6 days a week. Over the last couple of years I've got my flossing up from non-existent to sporadic to semi-regular. Now I want to elevate it to a not-to-be-missed every day routine. So far I am up to a week straight of doing it every morning.

2. Walk. At least 6 days a week, for at least 30 minutes. This year has been my worst for exercise. The exercise started going downhill with IVF cycles, and then just continued sliding, with occasional bursts of remorseful over-exertion coupled with various ankle and/or back pain issues. But I must get back to consistent, regular, moderate exercise, which I can use as a baseline for more if I want to, but I must not allow myself to do less. I've walked for 3 days so far since starting this resolution.

3. Eat more mindfully. My weight is an ever present concern. And although this year I didn't manage to lose weight, I do feel that in the last half of the year I have slowly got more in touch with eating healthily. I mean, my diet is and always has been mostly healthy. I just eat way too much, and blow it on a regular basis by giving in to chocolate, chips, ice cream, pizza and/or booze.  So I need to celebrate the good parts while being mindful about keeping the indulgences to a minimum, rather than being all "woe is me, I'm such a failure with my diet, I must lose 50 lbs by spring."

4. Do more yoga. Back in the day, many many years ago, I was a bendy yogini. And then I moved, and couldn't find a good class or teacher in the new city, and moved again. Ditto. And again. And still could never find anything I was happy with. And I stiffened up, got fat and got lazy. I really want to get back to a regular yoga practice. I've been looking hard for something suitable and finally found that my local studio (which I'd stopped going to because of time and money issues in addition to laziness issues) is now offering a Friday night $5 one hour class. It'll be a bitch to get to it at 5.30 as it'll mean leaving work early but I really want to do it. The class is with student yoga teachers, and they want you to give feedback to help them learn. I guess it won't be every single week, but I have got to make the effort to get to this as often as it is held, especially as their normal classes are $20, and that's too spendy for me these days.

5. Review, revise and renew my resolutions every solstice. This gives me four times a year to keep myself on track, not just once.

6. Be more social.

7. Meditate. Err, not sure how I'm going to fit this one in, but I'm putting it out there as a goal.

Do you do resolutions? Got any thoughts for this year? Anyway, Happy winter, one and all. I hope those of you up north are keeping warm.


calliope said...

First to comment! WOO! (sorry- I just so rarely ever get to be 1st at anything...heh)

Happy Solstice to you, m'dear. I was JUST thinking about that and how I would like to incorporate some Solstice something into the holidays over here.

Hope you have a wonderful year of walking & flossing.

Pamela Jeanne said...

Totally agree. Winter Solstice should be the beginning of a new year. As for resolutions, you've got some good ones (which I might co-opt). Haven't had time to sit back and reflect on mine yet, but you've given me reason to do so...

bleu said...

Happy Solstice as well.

I got this book this past year

to have great suggestions of more earth based celebrations for doing with Bliss.

I have not put into practice very much as of yet but am planning on it.

We try to celebrate the solstices and equinox's and I want to make them strong yearly traditions.

We do practice meditation some and yogic breath often.

We also read from Buddhist children's books.

I know most of what I am saying is kid based but really the book I linked I get sooo much out of on my own.

I actually call christmas Ommas as a celebration of creation as it is much more fitting for us.

Anyhow Happy Solstice!!