MITCHELL’S MUSINGS: Happy New Year

Labour Day signifies the start of new transitions and the end of summer

Happy New Year everyone. OK, technically it’s actually the beginning of the ninth month of the year 2012, but I’ve always figured that the day after Labour Day feels more like a new beginning than any Jan. 1 ever did.

Let’s face it. Summer and its accoutrements – holidays, easy living, days at the beach, a definite lack of seriousness about pretty much everything – basically ends this weekend.

I know it’s sad, well  mostly, you can read last weekend’s column about some definite positives, but it’s a fact of life and nature and a return to routine begins Tuesday.

All of our young lives this weekend has meant the beginning of a new school year and that cultural reality always makes one think of early September as an exciting time of leaving elementary school and heading for high school, or leaving town and going to college, or even less dramatic but just as important in one’s own lives, saying hello to Grade 11 and all that entails.

And as parents we also know that it’s back to getting the kids off to school, lunches, bus schedules, new clothes, books and the beginning of a semblance of order in our lives that may include actual dinners at the dinner table after a summer of casual dining, and actual bedtimes and alarm clocks and before you know it rushing out the door for hockey practices and meetings and…….

Heavy sigh. And if you happen to be a teacher or involved in education, as my dad was for decades, September obviously is the beginning of a new year.

Mother Nature, with its cooler nights and not-so-damn-hot days has already been telling us it’s soon time to get the firewood, bring in the harvest and secure the homestead for winter’s arrival (these days it means more changing the furnace filter than any real manual labour but hey, you have to go buy the thing, remember the size, actually take the old one out and put the new one in…)

And of course the television season, and the theatre season and often any group you may belong to that can’t get members to come out in July and August, begins anew come September.

What actually begins Jan. 1 for goodness sake?

Other than calendars of course.

It’s halfway through winter, hockey and curling season and even near the end, not the beginning, of most people’s Christmas holiday season.

Plus it’s cold and snowy and not that nice out in these parts (much worse in most other Canadian cities), so what’s to celebrate?

This time of year in the North Okanagan, and many other Canadian locales, is arguably the most beautiful of all. It’s still warm and sunny but the forest fire threat has eased and the campfire ban is over and if you get the time off and your kids aren’t in school, it’s prime camping time.

I guess one could make a case that we need the celebratory aspect of New Year’s more on a cold, dark Jan. 1 than we do on the usually spectacularly beautiful day after Labour Day, but as I get older it’s actually getting tougher every year to get up for New Year’s Eve parties after all the excitement and planning of Christmas. Yeah, I know how old am I anyway?

You know, speaking of that, I was thinking of advocating for the day after Labour Day to be declared New Year’s Day but maybe after a couple thousand years it might be a tad late to catch on. Besides, at my advanced age, I’ve got enough lost causes to fight already without taking on another one.

However I think I’ve proved my point sufficiently enough to proclaim that we are all on the precipice of a new beginning in our lives today. I guess you could say that about any day (especially if you happen to be a motivational speaker, but, hey, I’m trying to make a point here).

Call it what you want and even make some resolutions if you wish but I’m ending this diatribe with a Happy New Year to one and all. Someone cue that Auld Lang Syne music……