What to do with a new year?

Where’s that new car smell? Where’s the out of the box newness? Where’s the fresh from the farm – well freshness?

You know what I’m talking about, and I think we’ve all experienced it at some time or another – it’s not just the anticipation that something new or different is coming – it’s the realization that it’s arrived – and we get to take the next steps – and do something with that newness.

The thought really struck me the other day when I opened the fridge. It was something I saw, which I’ve seen many times, only this time it was in the fridge at the in-law’s place. It wasn’t anything unusual – and as I looked for something to eat – I saw it staring right back at me.

It was the half-gallon of milk.

Milk Half Gallon

As I stared back – it seemed to beg back the question – “Why do I expire?”

I blankly wondered about the question – specifically focusing on the 12 on the top of the container. “Well, you expire because you’re made for a certain amount of time – and then – well you spoil.” Obviously there are limitations to every metaphor, and it’s way too easy to get caught up on those – rather than take the simple lessons we can learn from them.

2012 is about to expire. We’re just about done with it.

Most all of the resolutions (if you’re into that sort of thing) are either done by now or they’re something about kissing your special someone on the eve of the new year, or you’re just letting them expire with the new year.

As it happens, we actually have something else stare each of us in the face every day – much like the milk in the fridge. It’s there even more frequently than the milk is – and honestly it’s even there if some of us are lactose intolerant. While it’s not as obvious as the milk, it’s something I think we can all get – and it’s actually cheaper than a gallon of milk – esp. with the impending possible cliff at stake.

It’s tomorrow. Ok – that was a bit trite. I’ll say it this way, – it’s the next moment.

Why bother saying something that’s been said over and over and over again? We all know that one moment follows another – one minute another, one day the day before and one year the year before. This isn’t new – to anyone. But it is worth saying – either to myself, or to a close friend, to my family, or just to someone else who needs the reminder.

The next moment brings an opportunity to do something new with something new. Consider the new things we come into contact with from time to time:

  • the fresh smell of a new carton of strawberries
  • the excitement and day-long fun of a new bike
  • the smell and feel of a new loaf of bread
  • the comfort and capability of a new pair of shoes
  • the excitement of a new outfit

Something new typically brings with it an opportunity we’re willing to take – and one that we anticipate with eager expectation. Next year is new – it’s 2013 – a year we’ve never seen on our modern-day calendars – well, not one in real time. I’ll have to get used to typing 2013. I used to have to get used to writing the new year when I write a check. It’ll be such a hassle – I’ll have to get used to moving my ring-finger directly up and to the left of the W, and instead use my middle finger up and to the left to tap the 3 to correctly indicate the proper year.

Of course – I could just complain about it being a hassle, or I could move forward with the new moment – embrace it, or at least give it a go – and make something new – of the something new I just got – a new moment. I could decide to hold off until
the earth perfectly aligns with the heavens in a few days – commemorating the newness to be ‘new’ at some point in the future – makes them no more new than the next moment I use to type the next word. I could otherwise decide to take the moment for what it is.

New.

Maybe even be a first responder.

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