It's a new start - at least that's what it says on the calendar

New Years Day, otherwise known to me as "the big on-and-off switch," has wiped its muddy and weary feet on the welcome mats of our households, ready to open the front doors to another living room of our lives. Whether we welcome New Year's Day with excited invitation, or slam the door on its entry in a failed attempt to shut it out, the "on-and-off switch" remains.

Why do I label News Year's Day "the big on-and-off switch?" Because people in general really believe that life magically reinvents itself every January 1st. Sorta like having our own psychological circuit breaker and reset button.

You hear it time and time again ... Gonna quite smokin'. Gonna quit drinkin'. Gonna spend more time with the family. Gonna take more time out for myself. Gonna, gonna, gonna. But I'll tell ya' what's really gonna happen. By the time February sees its final day, most New Year's resolutions will be doing revolutions - as in a downward spiral - and then crash.

Oh yeah, it's the time for change. Time to get into shape. Time to start a diet of hamster food. Time to lose weight. Time to reapply yourself to your education and to your job. It's time to clear the blackboard of the previous year and begin with new chalk and a clean slate.

It's time to look at a blank computer screen after deleting a year's worth of your life's collected documents, and relegate them to trash. Time to hope that a bad year clears the way for a good one. Time to hope that a good year isn't followed by the jealous rage and intrusion of a bad one. Ah yes, things will be so different.

Truth is, the only thing that you can really count on being different is the year on the calendar hanging on your kitchen wall or programmed into your computer. Time as we know it is a man-made mode of measurement. It was created by man to track activity, and to separate day from night. It is there to monitor our existence at work and in school, and to record periods and speed in sports.

It is also there to measure the heights of financial gain, and the depths of equitable loss. And it is there to remind us, in an irritating and uninviting way, how old we are getting.

People would be better off realizing that time is continuous, and starting a new workout regimen in April would more likely succeed than one started on January 1st.

In January, the gyms will be vacuum-packed with the hopeful; and then, in February, it will be a return to Weight-Watchers' purgatory.

But again, time is a measurement. Nothing more. Man may be the creator of time as we know it, but time itself has no proprietor. Time has its own agenda and only one means of measurement.

It's called infinity. It was here before us, and it will be here after us. It shows no respect for our man-made calendars, clocks, schedules, plans, or goals - all the more reason man saw it necessary to manufacture his own means of measuring and tracking time. And at this time of year, every year, time itself takes time out to laugh in disdain at our New Year's resolutions.

n John DiMambro is publisher of the Nevada Appeal. Write to him at


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