Janus

The first New Year’s Eve I can remember was 1999. My family pulled out all of the stops. I wore pajamas all night and shot silly string at my grandma’s cat. For years I couldn’t figure why that particular year was different from the rest. As it turns out, 2000 was a new millennium and I now know the human race thought the world would explode because of computer programmers (Y2K, anyone?). In other words, all other New Year’s Eves have paled in comparison.

New Year’s Eve always feels odd anyways. Does it even feel like a new year in January? Hardly. Nothing about January feels new. It falls in the middle of winter, there is no sunlight, baseball season is over, and all of the trees are dead. January does not exactly scream “fresh start.”

January does scream “Roman mythology,” however. Obvious, isn’t it? January was named after the Roman god Janus. Janus was the two-faced god of gateways and doors–a highly underrated domain. Just think about it, Janus could stop anyone from getting anywhere as long as there was a gate or a door. Nothing can get done if everyone is stuck in their room. Janus puts Zeus and Demeter to shame.

I digress. January is named after Janus and the title fits perfectly. Janus had two faces: one on the front of his head and on one the back to look forward and backward, just as we look forward and backward entering a new year. New Year’s Eve is a time to reflect on the  past year and the upcoming year. It is a night where we look both ways. Just like crossing the street. Unfortunately, New Year’s Eve has become a night where we look into the bottom of our glass and ask for a refill. It is rarely used to reflect or evaluate.

January is my time of reflection. There is not much sunlight for those of us up north, so there is ample time to sit in darkness and think (especially if you want to save electricity). While everyone attempts to fulfill their New Year’s resolution, I evaluate. What went well last year? What did not? What is one thing I should focus on this upcoming year? I like to take the whole 31 days to solidify a resolution. It is my way of worshipping Janus so I have no troubles entering or exiting anything the rest of the year. I recommend everyone try it this month. Bonus: by the time you make your resolution, everyone will have already forgotten theirs. It is a fun way to humiliate your friends.

Make something of this next year. We have heard enough people whine about the past year. Start off your year with a month of thoughtful consideration. Make January a process, not a false fresh start.

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