Our view: New Year’s: Time to reflect, time to plan

December 31st, 2017 3:28 pm

Happy New Year! It’s about time!

No, not it’s about time as in “It’s about time (X) happened.” Rather, it’s about time as in “New Year’s Day is about the concept of time.” Today manages to reflect almost any aspect of the concept you can consider.

A new beginning?

Sure, especially to those who feel most of life is before them, a cornucopia of nigh-boundless opportunities.

A clock winding down for those who have celebrated plenty of New Years?

Very likely. Opportunities may feel winnowed, options diminished, a fact brought to the forefront each Jan. 1. Making the best personal choices can feel more important simply because there may not be quite so many choices left.

A pause to look back?

Of course. It’s a handy — if arbitrary — rollover of the odometer, a reminder that a specific and regular amount of time has passed, and that it may pay to reflect on what you accomplished, what you failed to do, how good a partner, parent, sibling or friend you were, what events and actions made you happiest, what losses or shortcomings made you cry.

A moment to plot your future?

That follows. The point of taking stock of past time is to help better plan future time. You gave up free time to get that college degree? Time to land the dream job! You got the job? The pay is enough to buy that house! You bought the house? Well, now you can start a family! Your kids moved out? Congratulations, you have more free time!

Time is the backbone of hope. Maybe this year your team will take the championship, maybe you’ll finish that novel, maybe a new kidney will become available for your sister.

Time is the leash pulling you back to the here and now. Maybe you’ve outgrown that once-cherished tradition. Maybe this is the last New Year’s Day with a cherished person. Maybe it’s time to see that what matters is what you have, and no longer pine for what you lost or what you want.

It’s true the clock can seem to stop, in good times and bad. The bliss of a wedding day you never want to end, the sorrow standing aside an open grave you never wanted to see. But we all know time doesn’t really stand still.

Nor does the clock speed up, however fast the heart races in an exhilarated moment of great success that seems to disappear in a nanosecond. Regardless of how blurred events become in a near collision at high speeds on the highway, we all know time doesn’t really fly.

No, time is very much an indifferent constant. It is a core component of both order and entropy. It takes time to build the things in life we want, and left unattended time will wear those things away. Einstein may have determined time can be relative to speed of travel, but he also showed it must be constant to those proceeding at the same speed — which is all of us.

This is neither morbid nor mystical. It is just about time. And today, for a day, we ponder it.

So again, Happy New Year!

Here’s hoping that, whatever your circumstances or situation, you are able to make the best of time.