So here it is, our annual planetary attempt at a do-over.

Every year, we all get together on the same day and say, “Okay let’s try this again, and hopefully we won’t screw it up this time.” But inevitably, we’ll be back here in 365 days, hitting the restart button again. We call Earth IT and they tell us, “Have you tried turning it off and turning it back on again?” And so we do, and then we’re all shiny-faced and optimistic, looking at our nice clean slates and then life gradually chips away at our hopes for being healthy, nice, beautifully pure humans with nothing but kindness and joy in our hearts. I guess that’s why we need the reboot every year. I wonder, if we didn’t do this, if we didn’t have an annual moment of starting over, if society would be even worse off than it is. Not that everyone participates in it. For some people it means nothing. In some cultures the “new year” takes place at a different time on the calendar. But is there any culture that doesn’t celebrate this at some point? Is it a human need to begin anew? The planet itself runs on a cyclical schedule of seasons and sunrises and sunsets. The beauty of being round and constantly rotating and orbiting around the sun is that we will always come back to the beginning and start over. Maybe there is no other way we could be.

The pessimist in me looks at it as foolhardy — the constant barrage of resolutions and promises that will be in ashes by springtime, doubting that real, significant change is almost impossible. But the optimist in me points out that despite all evidence to the contrary, people still try. They still believe it’s possible that this will be the year they finally change. And some people WILL change.

Will I change? I don’t know. The first thing I thought of when the clock struck 12 last night was not any big hope for 2014, but some big regrets I had in the year that just ended. Things I should have done but procrastinated my way into oblivion. I have a very bad habit of avoiding things I don’t  want to deal with, which then creates a bigger problem I avoid dealing with, and so forth.

But as I said in my previous post a couple days ago, I don’t like making formal resolutions, and I especially don’t like declaring them publicly. I don’t like the disappointment. And ultimately I think if you really want to change something about your life you should just do it when you need to do it and not wait for January 1st. But that’s big talk coming from me, the aforementioned Avoider of Big Problems.

I do have a strange notion about New Year’s Day. Well, maybe it’s not that strange, I don’t know. I don’t know where I got this idea, either. I must have read it somewhere, I suppose. The idea being that New Year’s Day is kind of a representative of your year to come — whatever you want to do this year, you should do on New Year’s Day. So I always try to have a nicely balanced day if I can. I like to do things that make me happy, and will make me pleasant person to be around. I don’t want to waste away the day on the internet, or sleeping (which would both be nice, admittedly). I like to do some exercise (I did some yoga this morning, which I haven’t done in a long time), some writing (like this), some reading, eat something delicious (and hopefully healthy), talk to friends, listen to some music, snuggle with the cats, take a hot bath, etc. It makes me feel like I’m getting a good start to the year, without any particular pressure to accomplish something major.

One goal I’m working toward is going to Italy this year. Probably in the fall if I’m lucky. If not, I may postpone it to spring 2015. I’m saving money, and working the system to get as many frequent flier miles as I can in hopes of wrangling a free plane ticket. I’m going to read from one of my Italy guidebooks today and do some daydreaming about it.

Whatever it is that YOU want from this year, I hope you get it. I hope you can make 2014 whatever you want it to be.