The passing of one year and the beginning of the next, while celebrated at different key points in time by various cultures throughout different phases of history, symbolizes a period of rebirth in almost all societies. It marks the concept of change in a way that anyone can see and experience, and many people view this as an opportunity to change themselves as well. Some take it more seriously than others by trying to alter the way they think as well as they act, but the idea is the same across all walks of life. The next year marks new opportunities, and they are not to be missed.
So it is that we have New Year's resolutions. Perhaps not surprisingly, these traditions of personal betterment have been around and endured for many millennia. Some cultures made resolutions that were more spiritual in nature. The ancient Babylonians, for instance, celebrated their New Year in March during what we recognize as the seasonal transition into spring. Instead of trying to change themselves on a personal level, they celebrated their continued devotion to those gods, and also their leaders.
Centuries later, the Romans adapted these traditions to meet their own standards of what it meant to be part of a functional society. They resolved to uphold their beliefs in morality and hospitality, and strived to be better to their neighbors and families. When Christianity swept through the Roman Empire, these ideals changed once again with new traditions of prayer and fasting in order to cleanse one's spirit of the evils and demons accrued over the past year.
More modern times have resulted in more modern traditions. The first settlers from the Old World, for instance, avoided all festivity and gluttonous amusement, instead choosing to focus on that which went wrong over the past year, and how to improve upon it in the next. In this way, the more archaic ideal of personal resolutions made its final evolution into what we know it as today. We strive to improve any number of aspects in our own lives, and whether we succeed or fail, it is the attempt that matters.
Some view this as a time to lose weight or get fit and, for those, taking up a new sport or purchasing a new piece of exercising equipment might be serious considerations. However, it should be noted that regardless of what one decides to improve upon, it should be construed as a character-building endeavor. Perhaps the best New Year's resolutions might involve surpassing one's current physical and mental capacities. Instead, exploring the surrounding environments during the colder winter months might result in greater fulfillment. Camping or hiking allows people to get fit, lose a few pounds, and have a fun adventure all at the same time.
A new year is upon us, and it's now or never. What could be more meaningful than seeing and doing more during the new year? Go find some new adventures and new opportunities to make this year the best and most meaningful on record. Make those resolutions count.