We humans are creatures of habit. We set alarm clocks to off at the same time each morning, go through the same routines to get ready for work and most of us listen to the same few radio stations in the car and then tune into something familiar on television or engage in a long-time hobby at the end of a long day.
Perhaps clinging to comfortable day-to-day routine helps us grapple with the fact that we are mere microscopic passengers aboard a galactic rock hurtling through an endless void with no outwardly apparent reason for that to be the case. Nothing staves off an existential crisis like creating a mini universe that revolves solely around your own existence. And we all do it.
These routines mostly remain our own creations, known to only ourselves. If you’re lucky, perhaps a few others who live consistently in close proximity can witness them as well. In these cases, you’ve probably picked up on their routines as well, and even likely have worked your own routine around them throughout the years (like the person who always gets up excessively early in order to claim the lone bathroom for a shower first).
When routines intersect across all generations, races, religions and the other endless variations between us, it creates something much more special and, ironically enough, creates a situation that forces us to think outside of our own personal universe and think about the universe at large.
The dawning of a new year is one of those such routines.
As documented by HighSpeedInternet.com, which catalogs the most common Google searches on New Year’s Day, the United States sticks to a tried and true routine of excess – cramming a year’s worth of responsible drinking into one night of glitzy gluttony, normally resulting in a hungover start to the next calendar and expediting resolutions that involve never touching tequila ever again.
This isn’t to say everyone hearkens in the New Year with drunken antics, but the cultural routine of celebration through alcohol is well established in mainstream society throughout the world today. Even those who don’t partake in excess may find themselves toasting a rare glass of champagne as they count down the seconds to midnight and a new solar cycle filled with hopes and possibilities.
Funny enough, the approaching of a new year also shakes up our comfortable routines in other ways. We look over the 12 months that passed by and think about what we did that we’d like to do differently – which routines need readjusting or dismissed entirely? Perhaps we strive to cut out routine smoke breaks from work, or start a new pre-work routine of going to the gym and packing a routine lunch that includes fewer processed sugars.
Being creatures of habit also means we are ripe to become complacent in our routines, and a new year provides a natural, culturally-acceptable time to change – a clean slate; a fresh meadow of untrodden snow. There’s something almost cosmically divine about it all, as we experience a rebirth into a familiar cycle just as our planet finds its way back to the same starting point that it did 365 days ago.
Will you keep the same routines this year or will you seek to create new ones? Will you break away from routines entirely and try to live a unique existence each day? Do you believe the mere hanging of a new calendar on the wall signifies nothing more than the unrelenting passage of time, which we merely frame in order to keep order in society and make sense of our chaotic reality?
Regardless of your answer, we wish you a very happy and healthy New Year and hope that you will find peace of mind, whether through a comfortable routine or a newfound defiance of convention. Also, in case you were wondering for future reference, the only real cure for a hangover is water and time. See you in 2019.