January 1st has never felt like a beginning to me. Sure, the number on the calendar changes, but the real start of things happens around the end of August/beginning of September. This is when school starts, and this is what I consider the real beginning of the year. Of course the “school year” is an anachronism for most of us in the U.S.: there are so few of us tied to the notion of harvest season, after all. But summer vacation and “school days” are now cultural icons—part of the natural rhythm of our lives.
Public schools in my county went back into session this week, and my university starts classes next week. The college students have already begun their annual migration back to campus, and the roads are busy with vehicles and U-Hauls crammed full of life’s ammenities. I haven’t been a student for some time now, but the sight of kids toting boxes and hoisting laundry baskets laden with clean clothes takes me right back to my own first arrival on campus, my first dorm room, my first Rush Week frat party.
So even though the lazy days of summer are drawing to an end, and life with all its regularly-scheduled activities is about to spin up to full speed again, and though I’m not quite ready for it all… I can’t help it: I’m still a little bit excited, even giddy. There’s a whole new adventure about to begin.
Happy New Year, everyone!