New Year’s Day has already come and gone, marking the start of a new year, according to the Gregorian calendar. This was introduced in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII. For most people, New Year’s represents a chance to make a plan for the next year. It’s like a fresh start and enables them to excuse all their shortcomings of the year that just passed. And those of us who live in the Hamptons are no different than most everyone else in that regard. We made a list of our New Year’s resolutions and by February they will have been all but abandoned.
As an example, I asked some of my Southampton neighbors, what their New Year’s resolutions were when 2012 was rung in. John said that his was to slim down from 200 pounds to 170 pounds. As of this writing he weighs 209 pounds. Thomas indicated that he had pledged to finish the novel that he started writing in 1998. He is now on page 48.
Jenny was going to start giving more time to her husband and children with a promise to leave her salon by 6 p.m. each day. Since then she opened up a second location and now spends even more time away. Mary was going to start donating time at one of the local animal shelters. The dogs and cats are still waiting.
For some reason, each year we feel compelled to make these deals with ourselves. It makes us feel good for that brief period of time until our resolutions and intentions are all but forgotten. Maybe it’s time we stop kidding ourselves and take a new approach to the new year? In doing so, I think we can take a page from the Pulitzer Prize winning Broadway show Rent and the romantic-comedy film Serendipity.
In Rent, one of the songs is titled “Seasons of Love.” However, it is often referred to as “525,600 Minutes.” That is not how long the song lasts, but rather, how many minutes are in a year. Since 2012 was a leap year, we actually got 1,440 additional minutes. But that is not the point. What if you lived 2013 like you only had 525,600 minutes of life left? We can never truly know how many minutes we have left. To emphasize my point, the show’s creator, Jonathan Larson, died suddenly the morning of the scheduled off-Broadway premiere.
If you need some clarity about what it means to “live,” I refer to Serendipity. Toward the end of the movie Jeremy Piven, whose character, Dean, writes obituaries for The New York Times, has written an obituary for his still-living best friend Jonathan, played by John Cusack. He states, “The ancient Greeks did not write obituaries. They just asked one question of those who mourn; did the deceased live their life with passion?” If the answer is yes, then it is implied that it was a life worth living.
Passion has been defined in many ways but I believe the most spot-on definition is “boundless enthusiasm” or “abandoned display of emotion.” So I say we forget all the New Year’s resolutions and follow our passions into 2013. If we do this, coupled with the idea that we each might have only 525,600 minutes left, I am pretty sure it will make for a better “us” and a better Hamptons.
What New Year’s resolution have you broken already? Tell us in the comments below.