For many years of my adult life I bought into the idea of the New Year beginning on January 1st. Every where I looked–friends, courses, books–there were indicators that this was the perfect time of year to make new resolutions, chart my path for the upcoming year, hit the reset button, and swing into action.
Yet, in my inner world, I was still in deep hibernation mode. The weeks leading up to the New Year were usually filled with traveling to see family in Ohio, Connecticut, and New New York. I tucked in as early as possible on New Year’s Eve exhausted from our family travel and fun. Projects and presentations were already in full swing for January and February, and January 2nd was a day full of pre-ordained work that had been put on hiatus throughout the holidays. Nothing about this time of year felt ripe for new beginnings.
Within my Jewish faith, I had another opportunity. The Jewish New Year, based on a lunar calendar, often occurs in September. This felt more aligned to me. There was shift from summertime to school schedules, from warmer days to cooler ones. I welcomed the traditions that invited me to complete unfinished business with my loved ones and go forward with intention into a new year. Yet, the transitions–from summer to fall, from vacation weeks back to school, from Rosh Hashana to Yom Kippur–filled the month. September often felt more like the final sprint at the end of a marathon rather than a new beginning.
I finally chose to stop looking around me for direction, and began to look inward, to my inner world for guidance. When do I feel most peaceful? When do I have the inner peace and focus to create, design, and plan? What are my rhythms for beginnings and completions? I realized my answers were with the seasons, not the solar or lunar calendars.
Tomorrow is April 1st, one of my personal New Beginnings dates. Here in New England, the buds are starting to bloom without fear of buckets of snow landing on their little heads. The birds are chirping with greater confidence. The sun is warming our days. Everything around me is literally coming back to life. I am beginning to make plans for next year with clients who follow the school year calendar. I am beginning to step up my game for training for the triathlon I do in the summer. Without needing to navigate any massive schedule changes in this moment, I feel free to look ahead to the next six to twelve months and set goals and action plans. The days are warm enough for cool walks on nearby beaches and trails. After months of being inside, my body and soul are waking up again to dream, to explore, to create.
I will celebrate another New Beginning on October 1st. Six months from now, I will check in to see what I have done and where I am going. Often, as the leaves begin to change, and the temperature drops, I find I begin to settle into a different type of focus. I begin to look more strategically about how to implement some of the creative thoughts I have had during the spring and summer months. My brain clicks into focus as the air turns crisp and cool. Small animals work and gather. I plan and write. By January 1st, documents, dates, and goals that I need to line up with the traditional calendar year are already in place and ready for implementation.
We each have our own individual rhythms for productivity and rest, for creation and completion. Our ebbs and flows are influenced by our personalities, our genetic compositions, our lifestyles, our geographic locations, and by the rhythms of those around us. Tuning in to recognize my own rhythms helps me organize and plan my use of time in a way that feels joyous, aligned, and productive.
What is your personal New Year’s Eve? How do you honor and celebrate your own new beginnings? Please share your insights and perspectives in the comments section below.