The Collective Reset


Here’s something I love about New Year’s celebrations: The timing is completely arbitrary, but the collective energy is vital. When we view something — in this case, a shift in time — with collective vision, we see things differently, even if just for a bit.

Now, of course, in a calendar sense, the timing of a new year isn’t completely arbitrary. Obviously, we know the date when a year ends, and we know the date when a new one begins. But there is only one reason January 1 is the first day of the year: We’ve collectively agreed upon that marker.

My partner is an astronomer, and a couple of years ago, I asked him a question I had never really thought about before. “Is there any reason that our calendar year starts on January 1? I mean, isn’t that date rather arbitrary?” It turns out that’s true. Our 365 day year is based on the earth’s revolution around the sun, but astronomically speaking, the year could technically start at any point on that revolution journey.

I think about this every year when we cross over from December 31 to January 1. I don’t find the arbitrary nature of the shift to be deflating. I actually find it to be heartening. As people agree upon a collective marker to honor change, the collective energy results in actual change.

Sure, New Year’s resolutions don’t always result in permanent shifts in our individual lives. That may be true, but collective vision does actually change things. Around the world, we have playful rituals to honor New Year’s Eve and the shift from one year to the next. The customs vary, but this arbitrary date does manage to connect the world. And for a particular period, we are connected to one another in better hopes. That certainly changes things.

We need each other,
We need to be connected,
We need to refresh our hopes.

In many cases, some challenges from our previous year remain firmly intact, but as we cross over a completely arbitrary marker, we somehow manage to reevaluate our relationship to those very challenges. We hope for new visions, and we resolve to work toward them.

We need each other,
We need to be connected,
We need to refresh our hopes.

I love the gift of this annual, collective reset.

Renee Roederer

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