We’re at the beginning of yet another year. this one happens to be called 2024 but as you may know I’m not really convinced about the ‘years’ we work with because in my opinion they’re artificially created from various calendars which have been manipulated by philosophies and religions over the over the millennia.
Now if we want to define the year astronomically the best time to start would probably be the Winter Solstice when the nights in the northern hemisphere are longest. The 21st of December is the day when the time between sunrise and sunset is shortest so it could be time for a new start. But if you’re in the southern hemisphere it’s the other way round because that date is the longest time between sunrise and sunset which could create confusion.
Now, 1st January is used as the start of the new year, but back in Roman times the year used to start in March and other cultures started the year in September probably after the harvest. It’s worth noting the legal year and the educational year start in September and the financial year starts at the beginning of April, at least for the western cultures. Don’t forget the Chinese and Jewish cultures, among others, have a different ‘New Year’ so there’s consistent ‘New Year’ date throughout the planet!
So what is a year?
A year is the amount of time it takes the planet to orbit the sun which is 365.24219 days, a day being the time it takes for the earth to rotate on its axis – sunrise to sunrise. Every four years we ‘add an extra day’ to account for this, calling it a ‘leap year’, but to balance things out we don’t do this when the year ends in 00.
I worked on the on the Y2K project a few years ago and some problems arose because programmers hadn’t realised the year 2000 wasn’t a leap year.
At the start of each year we traditionally make our ‘New Year Resolutions’ but for many reasons they tend not to ‘work’ one of those being the ‘New Year’ isn’t really ‘significant’ or ‘relevant to our life.
I have a friend whose birthday is actually on the 31st of December, so it works OK for him – he knows tomorrow is really a new year in his life and he acts accordingly. Your birthday is probably a more relevant time to make new year resolutions and start your new year but there are other events you could choose.
Up until recently I was using the Winter Solstice on December 21st but last year, I changed my personal ‘New Year’ to the anniversary of a significant change in my life on 21st of July 2013 and I now measure my years from then, so my New Year’s Day is the 22nd of July. You can decide when your own personal year starts. A re-birth-day perhaps.
It doesn’t however take away the idea of making resolutions or plans for the coming ‘year’ which can be much more significant and effective when they’re made on a date more significant to you in some way than the calendar ‘new year’.
I’m working on to help people do this. There was a feature in one of the newspapers today “New Year Resolutions don’t work”. We all know this and I’ve published a lot about it over the last couple of weeks. The problem is the way most people make ‘resolutions’, usually just as a wish list in some form they’d like to perhaps ‘happen’ over the coming year if everything works out OK. The reason they don’t ‘work’ is their lack of significance to the date and their tendency to be ‘extras’ we have to fit in with what we’re doing anyway. Not part of ‘the plan’.