Why My Own New Year Does Not Start In January

In my church last year,on the eve of the new year,after the shout of the annual ritualistic "HAPPY NEW YEAR" and the congregation started congratulating one another, my pastor, Deji Onileowo,received a call on his mobile phone to come and attend to one of the church members who had been sick at home. I chose to accompany the pastor to the home of the sick member. On getting there at about 12:50 am,the health condition of the member had so worsened that we had to rush her to the emergency unit of the state teaching hospital. On getting to the hospital,the gory sights of patients inside the emergency ward made me doubt if there was anything new about the year to those patients at the verge of life and death. I had ever since had a critical view of every first day of the month of January which is celebrated by all and sundry as the beginning of new year.

    In line with the general and regular Gregorian/ christian calendar, every new year starts on the first day in the month of January. Whenever a period of twelve months streams away,the general ritualistic mentality that characterises the periods that follow is coloured by a glamorous sense of  a "new year". However it might send a cold wave of shock down your spine if you hear me claim that based on experiences and observations, I have developed a personal system in which my own "new year" does not necessarily have to start in January.

    Do not be surprised. What accounts for this exceptional case is that even though I follow the regular calendar just like you do to calculate days,weeks and months in years,I don't base my celebration of a "new year" on the every January rituals and rites, rather I rejoice and celebrate my own "new year" round all the days,weeks and months in the year. To me,every new day in a year is worth celebrations. Particularly,my celebration is at the top gear whenever I accomplish a goal that I have set for myself! And that could happen at anytime or month of the year and not necessarily in December or on the first day in January.

   This presupposes I don't see any necessity in a celebration that is premised on mere sensational outburst of emotions all over everyone everywhere just because another twelve months just passed by without a record of achievement of a goal that I have set. You might want to argue with me that doesn't the fact that God has spared my life and that of my family throughout the year call for celebration and thanksgiving? I am sorry; that argument remains defeat with the fact that I don't wait till after every twelve month before I praise God for His Grace and Protection over my life and that of my family. I do that almost every hour of the days of the year.

    As far as I am concerned,all days of the months of every year are equal. There is nothing unique about December that you have to incure debt in the name of Xmas or New year celebration. It might interest you to hear that some do borrow money for spending during xmas and new year only to use half of the year to pay back,while some are indebted just because they want to show that they are financially better and more comfortable than their neighbours. In the spirit of Yuletide festivities,I know of so many guys take their girlfriends out to eateries and party lounges to squander a larger percentage,if not all their savings throughout the year. This is why they remained frustrated and disillusioned throughout another year.

   While I don't naturally and absolutely frown at celebrating on every 1st day of  January as the beginning of a new year,it has to be noted that the 1st day in January should not become so ritualistic for you that it becomes  the only period of the year that you and your family are happy. I know about  so many families that have premised their happiness on the December/January axis and therefore must do all what it takes,including incuring debts, in order to make the Yuletide a memorable one. Their natural happiness is at the top gear every December while the rest of the year is looked down upon as ordinary period. Any other periods of happiness apart from December is artificial to them.

   The first day of January,even though it portends a great significance in our socio-cultural life, should be celebrated only for few minutes with all modesty and moderation, while setting  goals and targets to be met in the new year. However this is not to say that January must be the only time of the year to set goals for yourself. Do not leave major happiness of your  entire life at the mercy of sensational outburst of emotions that characterise the Yuletide and end of year festivities.

Rather learn to set goals and realise them. Let serving and worshipping God,fulfilment of purpose, touching lives, affecting your generation,helping the poor,being generous to your fellow humans all similar issues be the motive for your happiness and celebration. There is no need to celebrate the end of a year during which you refused to set goals let alone realising them.

(John Osadeyi,Director,RRDC)

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 Contact: johnosadeyi@gmail.com.

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