Happy New Year!

You will hear it a thousand or more times in the next day or so. Friends, acquaintances, TV hosts, newscasters, store clerks and banners, not to mention the big New Year’s Eve parties at home, in clubs and on television practically incessantly, “Happy New Year!”

Question: What exactly does that mean?

I know what it means if I get a new shirt, new socks, new suit, new car, new house or even a new friend, but what does it mean to get a new year? I can wear the new clothes, drive the new car, move into the new house and hang with the new friend – or, I can exchange the clothes, paint the house, customize the car and dump the friend.

But what do I do with a new year?

Well, someone says, you party hard New Year’s Eve, make New Year’s Day resolutions and recuperate all day New Year’s Day while you watch football and hope your team wins. Sound sorta, kinda like what we did last year? Probably.

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Interestingly enough, the new year is very similar to the aforementioned items. You get clothes you’ve never worn, a house you never lived in, a car you never drove and meet a person you never met. A new year means you get 365 days you never lived before and, as with the shirt, socks, suit, etc., you can pretty much do what you please with them. The Jan. 1, 2014, that dawns (on Wednesday this year) is a day you will never have seen before – or will ever see again. The same holds true for Jan. 2, 2014, through Dec. 31, 2014. You will get (all things being equal) 365 brand new, unique, one-of-a-kind days consisting of 24 hours per day, containing 1,440 minutes, 86,400 seconds – to do what?

By the way, we like to have someone to blame, so if you don’t like the 24/7 rule, you can blame some Greek dude named Hipparchus who divided the day equally into 24 hours (12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness, based on the days of the Equinoxes) and blame the  Sumerians and Babylonians for the seven-day week (though some historians claim it dates back to 2350 BC, people continued to use  varying hours until the 14th century and the invention of mechanical clocks in Europe).

That’s 365 24-hour days under your control, to do with them as you choose. Yes, many will immediately become cognizant of the “burdens of responsibility.” However, we must also acknowledge that the vast majority of us chose the root cause of those “burdens”: jobs, school, marriages, children, etc. Also keep in mind that you can continue with “business as usual,” or you can review and renew. You see, evolution’s claims to the contrary, you have been endowed by a Creator with a specific ability. I call it “decision-ability.”

In all creation, only humankind possesses this unique power, freedom, endowment – the ability to make decisions based on personal choices. Only you, among all living things, land, sea and air creatures, are endowed by the Creator with the free will, right, privilege, authority, this “decisionability,” the freedom to make personal choices. In other words, you can do whatever you choose,  right or wrong, wise or foolish. Every human being can do anything he or she chooses – so long as it is in the realm of the humanly possible.

Most of us are accustomed to thinking we are limited or restricted when we actually are not. We say “I can’t,” when we should really say, “I choose not to.”

How many times in your life have you said “I have to …”? The fact is, you don’t have to do anything. Take work, for example. If you decide to stay home, your boss won’t send a truant officer to your house. The government won’t send tanks or troops to take you into custody. If you decide to stay home, no one can make you do otherwise.

Are there consequences to this choice? Yes. Later, you may get a tongue lashing from your boss, be disciplined or demoted or even lose your job. Every action and decision has consequences/benefits. If you decide the consequences are unacceptable, you choose to go to work, though you would prefer to stay home. Every choice has fallout, but we do have choices.

Here is a profound and amazing thought: You really can, or don’t have to, do anything you choose to do if you are willing to accept the consequences or benefits of your choices. And here is an even more amazing truth that flows from that thought: There is only one power in the entire universe that can force you to do anything – and HE won’t!

So, beginning Jan. 1, 2014, you will have 365 brand new days consisting of 24 hours per day, containing 1,440 minutes, 86,400 seconds – to do with as you choose. “Choose ye …”

Oh, by the way, in case I forgot: Happy New Year!


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