January is here. For many a fresh start, maybe with new year resolutions or plans for the next 12 months ahead. In this post, some of the bloggers let you know their thoughts about the first month of the year.
Natalie – sketching the year in pencil
One of my rituals for the new year is the change of calendars. I am old fashioned and have a paper calendar where I note everything like birthdays, deadlines, things to do, travels, doctors’ appointments and you name it. If it is not in my calendar it does not exist.
On January 1st the pages are blank, and it is up to me to fill them, sketching what the new year might look like. This year is apparently the year of big birthdays – lots of friends celebrating half a century on this earth, my daughter turning 18, mum and mother-in-law 75 and 80 respectively.
After a pandemic, and almost a year with longcovid, I am also looking forward to start running races again. In the end of May there is a note for Edinburgh Marathon in the calendar, and in anticipation of that I have gone backwards from there to design a sort of training plan in order to survive the adventure.
Then there are a couple of deadlines of course, both real and fictional. The latter is in the category “would be good to get done” and can easily evolve along a timeline before Easter – before midsummer – well then, after the summer. We’ll see.
As much fun as it is to jot down birthdays, races, and travels I am very aware of that things may happen. Things that cannot be planned, and that might be less fun. I just keep my fingers crossed that any unforeseen events will be manageable. I do all my planning in pencil, to be able to replan. A vital skill I learned as a PhD student, when cell culture experiments were doing the planning for me.
The one thing I really noticed while busy with my pencil is that I hope that this will be the year of reunions. Hopefully I can meet as many birthday-jubilees as possible, give them a hug and raise a glass of champagne. And when running those 42 km in Edinburgh, I’ll be cheered on by my sister and maybe some old friends from University.
Melody – appreciate the little things in life
New Year, same old me! I never got into the habit of having New Year resolutions. The way I see it is that it might not be necessary to wait for the New Year to pick up a new hobby or give up a bad habit. Every day gives us the opportunity to try something new and re-invent ourselves.
However, there are many things to look forward to at the beginning of a new year despite January being a long, cold and dark month! For me, this year is simply not going to be similar to the previous ones because I am a new parent! So I’m very much looking forward to spending my first January as a parent and seeing my little one grow every day. Although, January might be a bit challenging this year because I’m starting work again. So it might take some time to find my balance again and feel comfortable with a new routine.
Being on parental leave gave me some time to reflect on some life and career choices and allowed me to see things from a different perspective. I understood that I need to appreciate more the little things in life and be thankful to the family and friends always supporting me. This is more of a life resolution that I would like to take forward with me this January.
Hazel – it’s the things we do and people we connect with that matters
I wondered, for a long time, why the cyclic system for marking time and year is the way it is and if we could all pause and stop counting for a period for everyone to take a breather like time really didn’t matter. Until I came across this article on National Geographic last year, it completely changed my perspective on the calendar year. The year used to start in March, in the Spring season when things come back alive. That makes more sense, doesn’t it?
After all, the calendar year is just another social construct, like most things. Socially, it is how people keep track of time, not the concept of time though. Scientifically or astronomically, it is the alignment on the amount of time it takes our Earth to revolve around the Sun.
Regardless of how the calendar year works and comes about, I do take advantage of this somehow synchronized way of people taking vacations and days off work at the end of the year to do other things. I call it a period where people at work have the least expectations of you. I also hop on the marketing trend to help promote veganism – if you have heard of Veganuary.
While many like to reflect on their growth, achievements, progress for the past year and set new intentions, goals, plans for the coming year, I personally prefer to do it in smaller bite-size pieces rather than the whole year where many changes can come along the way. Also, depending on what I am reflecting on, some things take longer periods to develop and mature; for example, career plans are on longer trajectories, so I often find myself seeing beyond just the calendar year.
All that said, the calendar year does provide some structure to life, but my life doesn’t depend on it. To me, it’s mostly just a form of communicating time to people around me such as setting deadlines. So, January is just another month, with a slight nuisance in getting used to writing a different year. Instead of trapping myself in a deep spiral and setting expectations for myself based on how long the Earth takes to travel around the Sun, I’ve learnt that it isn’t time that matters. It is the things we do and the people we connect with that truly matters, at least for me.