Last Updated on January 2, 2021 by David Vause

I recently read an article about an author’s disappointment that something didn’t happen at the very end of 2020 to bring more closure. I find the sentiment entirely silly.

It should be obvious to all of us that 12/31/2020 is really no different from 1/1/2021, other than that the latter is a new day. So much emotion is spent on the first of each year hoping that the next 365 will somehow be different and that we will somehow be better. I need to acknowledge that millions of us, perhaps billions, are caught in horrific lives of poverty, despair, and violence from which there is no escape. But, those of us fortunate enough to be born in the right country, at the right time, and to the right socioeconomic class can actually aspire to a better next 365 days. In reality, nothing has changed on January 1. There is nothing about New Year’s day that isn’t, in reality, imputable to the dawn of every day. The challenge at each dawn is answering the question of how we will live the next 24 hours. If you can’t improve yourself or the world over that short time frame, you have no hope for the next 364.

12/22 is the one exception to this. The first day after the solstice really does bring with it hope for something better. It is the first harbinger that the deadly grasp of winter will at some point loosen. The length of the period of sunlight will grow. Ultimately this will bring warmth. For many, spirits will lift, giving us additional drive to be better. Today, on a heavily overcast January 2, the lightness will be slightly longer, but it will not bring additional warmth. What we are left with is the will to be better.

This is where the new self-help vernacular fails us. On a dark cold January 2 morning, branding does not help. What matters is character. What matters is will.

What goodness will you will into existence today?

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