Most of us celebrate the new year as the calendar rolls from December 31st to January 1st. However, I abandoned this Georgian calendar tradition. Instead of making new year’s resolutions this January, I’ll ring in my new year on February 14th.
That’s right; this year I will welcome another 365 of the earth rotating around the sun on Valentine’s Day.
I know that my idea may sound insane, but I have my reasons for delaying the new year.
The new year is about so much more than popping champagne bottles and setting off fireworks. Somehow though, we’ve transformed passing one year to the next into a ritual as humane as the French Revolution guillotine.
There is this myth around the holidays that the pursuit of beauty doesn’t matter. But after we ring in the new year, we quickly trade baggy sweaters for vacation swimwear. We ditch cosy family photos for influencer-standard body pictures and we cast aside self-contentment for unforgiving self-dissatisfaction.
The day the sun sets on December and rises in January, we throw out our holiday decorations and notions of togetherness. We then replace them with with meal shakes and unrealistic beauty standards.
The holiday season is full of luxury, indulgence and a false sense of moving beyond diet trends. But as the clock strikes midnight on January 1st, beach bodies and gym bunnies take self-acceptance from our hearts.
The contrast of the two social seasons, the holidays and beach season, is more evident in January than any other time of year. During the holiday season, the supermarket shelves overflow with well-decorated foods, we receive a daily dose of advent chocolate and our role models are divine with messages of health, happiness and gratitude central to identity and person-hood. Though, the strike of the clock at midnight welcomes a parade of “skinny tea” billboards, bum ‘n’ thigh workout routines and role models who are promoted based on their aesthetics by the commercial industry.
It’s like we’re living in a sitcom where the the gym owner also runs a fast-food joint.
What about celebrating our trials and successes? About reflecting and rebuilding as we prepare for the next 52 weeks? What about stepping into the new year with all that we hold dear to us, friends, family and health? What about celebrating the new year in a supportive atmosphere and not one made cold and dark by big businesses thinking of their profits?
Call me melodramatic, but I’ll wait until February 14th to raise a metaphorical glass to last year’s successes and the year to come.
I refuse to further buy into the notion that the presentation of the physical body determines our worth.
As a significant proportion of the world dramatically reshapes their eating habits, body and gym time in the wake of the new year, I’ll take shelter instead. I’ll protect my soul, my life and my energy. I’ll take the time to see the unveiling of the year and its most popular trends, I will take the time to decide which of society’s messages I will allow to dictate my self-concept.
As the commercial noise builds towards love this Valentine’s Day, I’ll bless both the world and myself with love.
Is love not the true spirit of the New Year?
I’ll use love to reflect on who I was, who I am, and who I will become. With love, I will greet myself, recognise my strengths and weaknesses and, with love, I will accept the challenge of another year this Valentine’s Day.
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