The Newness of a New Day by Pat Bertram

champagneI’ve never put emphasis on a new year because it’s an arbitrary date. The calendar numbers change, but that’s all. It’s not even a universal new beginning. The Chinese New Year this year is on February 10, the Jewish New Year is on September 4, the Persian New Year is March 21, the Korean New Year is February 2, the Tibetan New Year begins on March 5, and various communities in the Hindu religion have different dates —March 22, April 13, April 14, April 15, August 17, October 18.

January 1 is not even the beginning of a new seasonal cycle. And it doesn’t begin at the same time for all people. (So when did my New Year begin? At midnight in the city of my birth, or midnight in the city where I am presently residing?) Nor is there any personal demarcation — no black line separates the old from the new. You carry the old year with you because you have the same problems, sadnesses, hopes, fears. In other words, you are still you.

There is a newness to January 1, though, and that is the newness of a new day. Unlike the year, each day truly is a new beginning. You wake up, and for a second everything is untouched — like new-fallen snow — and you almost believe you can be anyone you want to be, do anything you want to do. Then the truth hits you.

Still, there’s hope, so I make daily resolutions instead of yearly ones. I have a list of a dozen do’s and don’ts that I would follow in a perfect world. I’m lucky to do about half of them each day, but it varies. Two days ago I did only a couple. Yesterday I did all but two. Today, of course, I resolve to follow everything on my list. The list includes such things as weight lifting and stretching, walking, writing, blogging, promoting, eating a big salad, drinking lots of water, staying away from sugar and wheat. As I said, in a perfect world . . .

Despite that, I did toast this New Year, more as a symbol of newness than the reality of it. I’ve learned that I have to make something important every day. And toasting the New Year seemed as good as anything to importantize. (Yeah, I know — there’s no such word as importantize, but just for today — this new day — there is.)


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”


Filed under life, musings, Pat Bertram

14 responses to “The Newness of a New Day by Pat Bertram

  1. Hi,
    Happy New Year!
    I don’t make a resolution list. I never follow them anyway. I read two books from Stephen Covey that showed me a better way of starting the year, and since I have implemented that in my life, I am not disappointed.


  2. Ah, ’tis a good word for a new year! No resolutions. Just hopes and determined dreams.

  3. I knew about the Chinese New Year but not about the Jewish one. There was a time when a new postage stamp celebrating Chinese New Year would come out in February. I was disappointed when it didn’t happen last year. I am not a stamp collector but I know overseas people tend to love our Australian stamps because they tend to be well thought out, nicely designed and generally beautiful. I still snail mail occasionally overseas. Mind you the Kiwis also put out some really nice stamps at times.

    I have no plans so far for the New Year except to trot along as per usual. I worked New Years Eve and, though it wasn’t planned by me, this involved walking across the Sydney Harbour Bridge in order to get to a train station that wasn’t totally packed with people in order to get home.

    I was at Milson’s Point during the fireworks display. This is very close to the bridge and also to Luna Park. The light show was spectacular as per usual. Walking acrossd the bridge though I noticed things I would not normally have noticed on New Years Eve turning into New Year’s Day. Boats on the harbour were lit up for the occasion. An old barge was made to look like an even older sailing vessel only with red lights in place of sails. Despite being foot weary, I did take it all in and could imagine being a kid again even if only for a moment.


  4. I agree fully, celebrating the first day of January is ridiculous. Celebrating it to the extent that happens in many countries is beyond ridiculous.

    • People need hope in their lives. The ending of one year and the notion of a brand new one with brand new possibilities helps a lot of people. That is what celebrating the new year is all about. Just think of the east coast flood the USA has recently had. The people who were affected by it have got to be hoping 2013 will be a better year for them.

  5. I’m the worst at resolutions. I try to set optimistic, but realistic goals.

  6. reggia9

    I don’t set new year’s resolutions but I do value the freshness and hope of a new day. I loved this, it encompasses so well my own thoughts and feelings: “You wake up, and for a second everything is untouched — like new-fallen snow — and you almost believe you can be anyone you want to be, do anything you want to do. Then the truth hits you.”

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