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Resolved: Let's get along!

Happy New Year! Sound a little funny this late in the year? Not if you happened to be an ancient Roman. Until 2,600 years ago, the year started on March 1 (Martius I to those ancient Romans) and they would celebrate the new year for most of the month, the first of ten for the year. Sound confusing? Again, not to the Ancient Romans. It got confusing for the  next 600 years as several rulers added months, moved months, and added and rearranged days.

 

With each change, the start of the year also changed but there was little agreement throughout the world on when to start the year. Coming up with a standard calendar wasn’t just an ancient problem. It wasn’t until 1752, only 262 years ago, the British Empire accepted the Gregorian Calendar (the one most of us in the U.S. follow). Some places in the world today still hold on to other calendar versions and other days important to their culture as the true start of the year.

 

Why does this matter? It doesn’t, and it shouldn’t. Call each day what you will, there are still only so many days between the first of each year whenever you want that “first” to be. That the calendar changed and we have dealt with those changes means we are capable of accepting change. It may take us a millennium or two, but eventually we mostly can agree that change is not all bad.


It matters more what resistance there had been to those changes had little to do with the impact of the most recent calendar version on anyone’s life but had a lot to do with the distrust of “them” who are trying to tell “us” what to do. For example, the reason the British did not accept the Gregorian Calendar until the 18th century is that it was presented by Pope Gregory and the distrust of the Catholic leader by the English monarchy had not lessened since that time when King Henry and Pope Clement couldn’t get together on what to do about Catherine.

 

We are not so certain that people resist change as much as people resist being told what to do. Some would argue we have become a society more involved in “me” rather than “we.”

 

Although we have published several Moments of Motivation that address the need to embrace our differences, we have put those thoughts into a longer Uplift post only once. In Life Is Like Condiments we said:

                 

You can try to go through life by yourself, but eventually you’ll find you are living a very bland existence. … By ourselves we cannot do much nor can we ever hope to amount to much. ... We need others to control the excess energy we bring or to add focus to our vision. … We must fully immerse ourselves into society if we want to see our influence spread to where it can do the most good.

 

And isn’t that why we are here? To do the most good! Perhaps we should write of more opportunities where we as a whole are greater than the sum of our parts. Or perhaps we should ask you to share some of your experiences when you found working with a variety of people different from you led to a greater understanding of what you can do.

 

When you consider that the whole world still can’t agree when each year starts it isn’t surprising that there are so many challenges in getting everybody in the world to agree on respecting, and yes, even relishing in each other’s differences. Why should it matter if you want to call January 1 the start of the year, make March 1 your New Year’s Day, or pick a different day every year.  

 

Perhaps this is as good time as any to make a New Year Resolution we all can keep, to celebrate in our differences and accept those unfamiliar to us as part of our lives. Let’s resolve to just get along.



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The reality of our self-centeredness never ceases to amaze me--and I know I'm part of that "our" group. Seeking to get along with others instead of quarreling about every little thing, every small thought, every bit of minutia, shows how "me" focused we are instead of being "we" focused. I love how y'all bring to the forefront how our differences can add to our abilities, our attempts, our experiences. I loved that blog on "Life is Like a Condiment". Very few people love bland and tasteless. But we too often choose to live that way! Who cares when the New Year starts? Every day is a new day, a fresh start. You're right--let's just get along.

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Dayle, you wrapped up our entire post so succinctly. “Every day is a new day, a fresh start.” So true. Now if we only could work on taking everyday with the excitement and energy that accompanies the new year!

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