Happy 2017 to you. Yesterday was the beginning of the new year; the new Gregorian year, that is.
Since 1582, that's the calendar many people have been using. That's the year when Pope Gregory XIII decided to drop the Julian calendar established 1,627 years earlier by Julius Caesar in 45 BCE. Caesar, in his turn, had canned the Roman calendar that had been put into use by King Romulus in 753 BCE.
Of course, there are other calendars still in use. The Jewish new year - it's 5777 now - began months ago on 10/2/16 Gregorian (I feel I must say that now). And the current Islamic new year - they're only up to 1438 - started a day later on 10/3/16. If you celebrate Nowruz, like many do in Iran and Afghanistan, it's been 1395 for months and months. Then there's the Mayan calendar and the Ethiopian one, too, and I'm sure there are others.
It's still 4713 for another month in the Chinese calendar, which will mark the beginning of its next year on 1/28/17 Gregorian when it will be the year of the Rooster.
In 2016 Gregorian (okay, okay, I'll stop), Pope Francis declared it to be the jubilee year of mercy. Looking back, what would you call 2016: the year of Trump; the year of snark; the year of gravitational waves? What about the year of the refugee? The year of Brexit? Could it be the year of Black Lives Matter? Maybe it's the year of the Cubbies! Mother Teresa's sainthood! Hamilton! Harriet Tubman! ...the year you got married (it happened three times in my family last year) or graduated or quit smoking or started a new job.
Whether you thought 2016 (or 5777 or 1438 or any year) was a good year or bad year, here's an opportunity to look ahead. Make a plan for yourself. Think about what you will do, big or small, public or personal, that can make your next year a good year. Say it aloud. Make a declaration. Name what you want for yourself, or for your community, or for your family. In the spirit of naming the year as the Chinese do, what will you name this coming year for yourself?
For me, I name 2017 the year of wearing lipstick (since 2016 was my year of not coloring my hair anymore). And the year the pitch drops. And the year of improved sense of humor, of humanity and of compassion. That's my outlook. What's yours? Whatever you choose, I wish you a wonderful year ahead.