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September 1st as the real New Year

Happy New Year! I hope that wherever you are, you are warm. Across Canada, it seems like everywhere is under a deep freeze. I am thankful that our windchills, while bitter, aren't as bad as they could be. My husband and I stayed in. Who wants to go out when it's so cold?

I wish that the New Year could be observed on September 1st. It is a far more meaningful date when it comes to change than January 1st is; for me, anyway. That date when summer is drawing to a close and the school year is upon us has been a marker for me since I was five years old. Even when I grew to adulthood, it was still a feature as I attended school myself and as I homeschooled my children. It is still a factor now that I'm in seminary. When I grew up, the significant changes in my life were observed in the summer months. When my father as inevitably transferred, it usually occurred in the summer months in order to make it easier for us as a family. Goodbye old city and school in June; hello new city and school in September. If the New Year was in September, it would be more enjoyable to celebrate here in Canada, anyway.

On December 31st, there is always the typical look back upon the year at events both in the news and personally. Of course, real life doesn't observe markers with such precision, and often when I'm encouraged to look back on the year, I can pick out a few significant things, but there are still things that are unfinished that will come to a conclusion later this year. Ask me in a few months to look back, and I may have a better answer for "how was your year?"

One of the most significant events in my life happened on a day in September: my first child left home. That event was a bigger adjustment than even becoming a parent for the first tiime. Looking back on that time, I think it actually took me about eight years to really adjust. I thought I had adjusted pretty well, but it turned out it had been more difficult than I realized. That day, as we watched our daughter walk across the football field at her new school, toward the student dorms, I had no idea of what change I was experiencing. The significance of dates and times often don't manifest themselves until long after the changes have happened. We never know what will be a watershed until well aftter it's happened. For some, another random date may feel like the first day of a new year.

Perhaps I like September 1st better because there is more of a build-up. I don't feel like I've been out of school that long. I've already begun reading for my history class and I've reviewed Greek every day since I finished classes, so I don't feel that sense of anticipation. My anticipation lies more in the hope for good weather every Tuesday and Thursday when I drive to school. What I do find interesting is that in September, we are often encouraged to reflect back on our summer, not the whole year; as if summer brings with it more scope for change or significant events. The fact that we often anticipate significant things happening in the summer kind of implies that September 1 is a significant date.

It is good to take time to reflect on our lives, but one doesn't have to do so on December 31st. Pick a day of the month every month. Even better, write about the significant things that happen. It is especially valuable to keep track of what we've read in our Bibles and the spiritual lessons we've learned. Paper journals are still a big business. I was at Indigo on Saturday, and the selection of journals was impressive. I guess the point is to be pro-active about looking back. It's a good way to see where we've come from, and help us as we look ahead.

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Reader Comments (1)

Yes! I am always telling people that September makes so much more sense for a new year than January. Glad to know I'm not alone. :D

January 2, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterElaine Mazzo

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