Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy New Year! Two heads are better than one…

… at least in ancient Rome.

We come to it at last, the end of the year 2012.

It is time to pass beneath the arch of December and on into January.

I suspect many people, myself included, feel a bit melancholy at this point. The holidays are all but over and back-to-work days are staring us in the face. We consumed inordinate amounts of food, wine, sweets and evening glasses of Bailey’s on ice.

We reflect on the year that is left in our wake and sigh because we must move forward whether we like it or not. Perhaps we did not accomplish all that we set out to do? Let’s face it, the crappy things tend to hold our attention more than the brilliant ones.

The secret to overcoming the New Year blues is to remember the past year whilst moving forward through the next. Like the study of history, if we forget the past, we are indeed doomed to repeat it.

Did you know that the month of January was named after the Roman god, Janus? He was the two-headed god of gates, doors and new beginnings. In ancient Rome, New Year’s Day was dedicated to this two-headed deity who kept one set of eyes on the past year while watching over the year to come.

For Romans, January was a month for looking back and looking ahead.

In Rome, when the two new consuls were to begin their term in office, they would begin on New Year’s Day. Janus would watch over beginnings such as the latter or something as small as the start of a new business venture for a butcher in the Suburan slums of the city. Janus was the first god on the list in prayers and the first to receive a portion of a sacrifice.

Janus watched over all transitions and new beginnings and that is what many of us will be doing this New Year.

Not that we should obsess about how we begin the New Year. We should just be mindful of what has come before and be open to what is approaching us in the yet-to-come.

Temple of Janus
Autun, France
It may be that we were somewhat less than what we wanted to be in recent months but that is the beauty of new beginnings. History is what it is and it is up to us to learn from it.

The future is what we are willing to make of it.

So, maybe the Romans had the right idea? Perhaps the best way to move through the gate of one year into the next is to remember, learn, and then press on with creativity and inspiration and Januvian optimism in all aspects of our lives.

It is not just New Year’s Day or January that are the beginning but each new day that dawns, that sees us awake and thinking, a new opportunity to shine.

So, with that one thought from Writing the Past, I wish you all a brilliant and fortunate future for 2013.

Happy New Year!
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