Perhaps the best advice is this, which the anonymous poet of centuries ago chiseled upon his clay tablet: “In time take time, while time doth last, for time is no time when time has past.”
Only out of the past the new is born, and into eternity all are predestined. To speak of a new year is to deceive oneself. For whatever it is, a moment is already an instant past before man becomes aware of its reality.
The new year opens another cycle of time passing. Romans named the first moon of their year January after Janus, honoring the porter or guardian of their gates to heaven. Only he, as a god with two faces, thus being capable of seeing both the past and into the future, is permitted to tend the gates. He guarded the sacred grounds of heaven from nonbelievers.
No matter how different our beliefs and cultures, almost every civilization has one thing in common: an acute awareness of time and its passing. We are all mortals, all borne upon the same tide.
The arrival of each new year brings an altering of our ways. The grubbing hoe has been laid aside for the firewood splitters’ axe, the singing of the teakettle on the kitchen range whistles a different tune as the winds croon their icy songs in winter rhythms, songbirds fluff their feathers against the wet chill and the hound dog dozes before the warmth of the fireplace.