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?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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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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