Neil DeGrass Tyson recently reminded everyone on national television that New Year's-as we celebrate it-is not an actual event as far as astrophysics is concerned. He went on to recognize the placement of numerous solstice and return to light celebrations practiced by cultures in recorded history and the celestial significance of any lunar based holiday-but reminded us all that 12/31 of any year is just another day in the universe and of note purely by human design.
Much like New Year's Resolutions if we pause to think about it.
His remark was a humorous and delicate reminder for me-as this day rolls around each year after a whirlwind of my own cultural celebrations and the steamrolled anniversary of the birth of my first child. It is almost a conceit to expect kids and adults alike to suddenly find more reason for jubilation and somber cause for reflection while the lights on the tree and the birthday candles struggle to maintain their significance. Don't forget to throw soul searching and behavior modifications into the mix for a dose of good measure.
Better suited voices have spoken on the irony of our culture's mass consumption and seasonal indulgences during the holiday time to be immediately countered with a call for austerity in the days that follow.
It certainly serves, at perhaps a very low frequency, to feed our sense of inadequacy and may in fact inspire reactive behavior that is masquerading as self-improvement or personal journey.
Now it may very well agree with us as a "New Year's Resolution" to put label or timeline to any number of behaviors we seek to reduce or introduce. And it very well may agree with us as a system of support as we work towards being more present with ourselves and our place in time and space as perhaps Degrass Tyson may himself help us better understand. I'd be remiss myself as an LMT if I didn't acknowledge that the "Resolution" process of reflection and pursuit of wellness in our culture certainly acts as a boon to those who practice massage or collect funds as the locker room in gym suddenly feels too small.
It all may ring a little bit true.
But as January fades, it seems to sigh a 31 day relief from the weight of it's annual charge. The Earth Goes Round the Sun they say, and I'll be glad when the two-faces of Janus passes to February and allows us to tilt the scale back to the middle. I'll be glad when we remind ourselves that each day is a unique process of combined choices and uncontrollable circumstances and that being gracious to ourselves and each other is a yearlong, lifelong endeavor.
Be kind to yourself during this time of year. That's something even Neil Degrass Tyson can get behind.