Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Recipe for the New Year

Oh dear, this was going to be no more than a brief note, a simple message designed to wish you a very happy New Year.  Then, I stopped to ponder . . . and, yes, you can guess the consequences.

If you're busy after Christmas, and would rather have no more than the brief note, then please feel free to stop here.  But, if you'd like to share the journey . . .  and I'd love to have you . . .  you're very welcome to come.

Tell me, have you ever stopped to consider the word 'new?
It is, as I've discovered, nowhere near as simple and uncomplicated as you'd think.

To the modern world, 'new'  doesn't merely mean 'freshly arrived', it's also synonymous with 'improved'.  When we read 'New Recipe!' emblazoned on a dish in the supermarket, the words imply that the old version was lacklustre and flavourless.  This 'new recipe', on the other hand, offers all the mouthwatering appeal that the old one lacked.  True, this is a marketing ploy, but it wouldn't be so successful were we not conditioned to expect the multiple benefits implied by the word 'new'.

Which brings us to the fast-approaching New Year.  Seen in these terms, a new year is not merely a change in the date . . . the time for a new diary and a new calendar on the wall . . . it has far more excitement to offer.  The approaching year is introducing a new ingredient into our lives.  It is, so we hope, improving the recipe.

Wouldn't you agree that we need a new recipe?  Three-hundred-and-sixty-five days are as much as we can take in the dish labelled '2013'.   Weary in the middle of winter, burdened by the old year's accumulation of events, we need the concept of renewal . . . the offer of a new opportunity, the promise of a fresh chance.

So, what is a New Year?  Surely it's no more than a date, a label stuck at random on a revolving planet?   Maybe, but that label is critical to us.

Around the globe, as tradition dictates, the clocks will reach midnight in slow sequence. One after the other, the bells will ring out and the old year will pass into history.

What can we expect in 2014?

It would seem that there are two aspects to a New Year.  There's that over which we have no control . . . the slings and arrows, and the unexpected blessings.  Then there's the 'new and improved recipe'  . . .  our contribution to the menu.

The ingredients for that recipe are the same powerful mixture that has dominated man's actions down the centuries . . . but, as always, it's up to us which ones we'll select for the year ahead.
Might I suggest a nutritious blend of 'love', 'trust' and 'collaboration' . . .  mixed with 'care' and liberally seasoned with 'gratitude'?

Whatever awaits . . .  may it prove a happy and truly nourishing New Year for all of us.