New Year New You

Well it’s that time again. The start of a new year when the regret from the past and the hope for the future collide. Did I get everything done in 2022 that I needed to get done? Did I miss a year-end deadline that I’m going to regret on my taxes? Was there anyone that I forgot to send an annual text message to who now thinks I forgot them on New Years?

When did we first come up with the brilliant idea of making resolutions that would hopefully inspire us to greatness as the calendar changed? And when did we forget that time is just a human-made construct and the changing of the days and years has very little meaning at all?

Did you know there are places on this planet where it’s not 2023? Other calendars and timelines exist for other people and they are perfectly happy going about their lives not caring to be out of sync. It’s the same with time zones. Some places aren’t just an hour ahead or behind – some places have a half-hour shift instead and some places don’t even bother to change their clocks anymore (because they have realized how antiquated that process is).

Are we really new and refreshed when the clock strikes midnight and a new day / year approaches or are we exactly the same as we were mere moments before…no we are different, but not because the time has changed. We’re different because the ANTICIPATION of the change has come and gone.

Terror on the Caterpillar Coaster

I was watching QI the other day and there was a question about theme parks / roller coasters (because they are in their “T” season). The question was based on measurable levels of excitement / arousal / pleasure and the highest we experience on a roller coaster – and it’s probably not when you expect it. We’re not at our most excited when the roller coaster goes upside down, or through a heartline roll, or when we plunge to our near-death encounter with the water below before zooming into a corkscrew. We’re at our most excited when we are being buckled into the seats and the roller coaster has not even moved forward a single inch.

The most exciting part about going on a roller coaster is the ANTICIPATION of what is to come. Once the coaster actually starts moving our excitement level plunges and only ever reaches 80% of the maximum anticipation like we had in those moments of the safety bar or handles being put into place. (and even more so, research determined that the caloric value we expend on a coaster ride is equivalent to a single french fry – how pathetic is that)

And this, my friends, is what New Year is all about. It is the ANTICIPATION of what’s to come as the clock strikes midnight and the calendar increases by a single digit. What will the new year bring? Will there be weight loss? Will there be fame and fortune? Will there be a new love interest? Will there be a new job or a move to a new home?

Happy New Year

And then the clock strikes and we realize that it’s just the same as it was moments before. Yes we might be a little bit more tipsy if we’ve had champagne or otherwise, but it’s still pretty much the same.

Without the ANTICIPATION of being strapped in for the launch of a new year, we’re back to the expectation of the loop-de-loops and the corkscrews and the heartline rolls and the banks and the turns that we always knew were there just around the corner. We’re at 80% of what we could be.

The show was funny, as QI is meant to be, and it was entertaining and informative, as it is also meant to be, but it also made me sort of sad about roller coasters. But it was completely true. Every coaster I’ve been on has been a bunch of waiting, a brief bundle of maximum excitement, and then a bunch more waiting for it to be over so I could move on to the next ride.

We’re creatures of habit. We feed on that ANTICIPATION and keep looking for the next big thing that we can latch onto and feel that same excitement and urgency before realizing that once it actually begins, we’re barely 80% as excited about it as we were a second before it happened.

And so, here’s to 2023 being at least 80% of what the final moments of 2022 were.

Happy New Year!

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