Counting on a New Year

One can always trust some uptight counters among us to insist we are not starting a new decade. I can do the math with them, too: there was no year zero. Starting with 1 AD (counting it a few centuries after the fact), the base ten system tells us we’re in the tenth year in a series of ten years. The next decade, whatever it gets called, will start in 364-some days.

I don’t know that the ordered counting thing really works. I’d be inclined to call a new decade as of this morning, especially if I were a minority or single dissenter. The facility of the numbers: a set of ten years that starts with “201,” and that’s good enough for me. I count lots of time independent of a calendar-count of days, weeks, or years. Why should I bother with adhering to some original count of decades? I’m well into a third decade of ministry, a second decade of marriage, and nearing the end of a first decade as a parent. Then there’s the personal count of years as determined by my birthday. So if people want to talk about the “twenty-tens,” I’m inclined to let ‘em.

In the homily today, Fr Dennis asked us to reflect on the best experience of the past year. He actually gave me too much time, because I was going back several years to pull out my number one event. This past year was difficult–a lot of medium highs. I would say my retreat in November was the foremost in mind last night. 2008 was difficult–that was a rough year. 2006 had one singular memory: the young miss and I laughing our heads off on the Maid of the Mist tour at the foot of the falls. 2001 was adoption year; that was one great year. I’d have to rate my whole decade by years: first 2001, then 2000, then 2009, with 2006 in there. The most troubled years would be ’08, followed by ’03 and ’02.

I think as we see the calendar click off one more year, we can hope. If things are going well, we pray it continues. If not, we can mark this day as the possible start of a turnaround. We make resolutions. If one is a keeper, then I think we’re doing well. I’ve tried for a personal turnaround with my retreat and in its aftermath. I feel as if I’m starting the third month of a new year, or new leaf, as it were. I didn’t have to wait for some arbitrary day like January 1.

How about you? Any interesting takes, especially unconventional ones, on the traditions of a new year, a new decade, or getting a new start on your life?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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2 Responses to Counting on a New Year

  1. Liam says:

    Where are the ordinal literalists this year? I am afraid I’ve not encountered any of them this time round. They were thoroughly quashed 10 years ago, when the 99-year 20th century ended (in popular culture of the prior century-end, the 20th century was largely welcomed in 1901), but the issue of decades and eras is popularly determined, and 2000 decided that decades start on zeros, as it were.

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