But wait...at some point in our growing wisdom we might connect the dots of thought that there is more than one time zone in this world and then wonder, "When does the new year really start?" Well, once in a while my family gets on this annual kick (discussion/fight) about when the new year starts but never bothered to resolve the question in our moments of debate. This year I decided to find out for myself since we're now in the age of instant knowledge through different devices and the internet. I'll get to the answer in a moment. But first I want to elaborate on this dilemma we've (I've) gotten into.
I grew up as an east coast gal in Rockville, Maryland. When December 31st came around I'd watch the big New York count down (New York and Maryland are in the same time zone.) with its ball in times square for the new year on TV until I was old enough to go to a party or a dance or even host my own party at home. Then I graduated from high school and went off to Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho. (Not the same time zone as Maryland and New York. - Mountain Time) While at school there I met my husband who grew up in Fairfield, California. (Again, not the same time zone as Maryland or New York. - Pacific Time) It was then that I realized that most of America watched, on the then limited TV options, the New York times square count down but delayed to air during their particular time zones’ time before midnight. I thought to myself, "why do I want to wait or watch a rerun of what had already happened?" The only good of that was staying up late because I could to feel the night time suspense of trying to find myself awake for the first minutes and beyond of the new day.
Thankfully, my husband and I both have a laid-back opinion about this holiday. We'd just go to bed when we felt tired and say, "Happy new year in two more hours" before falling asleep or in the morning say, "Happy new year." Then we started having kids and as they got older our celebrations increased. Staying up late then still wasn't too hard. But somewhere between the time we started staying up for our first teenager to party and come home to now we found ourselves more tired. As parents, we found ourselves stuck with the dilemma of not personally wanting to staying up late and also finding a balance for our kids (teens) to be able to celebrate this world recognized holiday. Our past solution: we stayed up for our girls to come home, then they didn't care too much to go out and luckily for us our boys weren't the party types. When the kids decided it was cool again to stay at home again they stay up and the grownups went to bed early. Now, as my family and I have gotten even older and a little wiser, the appeal to stay up late to greet the new year for a count-down has lessened more. Our noise makers and fanfare have gone away again. The new year can wait till morning to greet me.
So, when should we celebrate the new year aka January 1? Well quite frankly, whenever we want. I discovered at www.timeanddate.com/counters/firstnewyear that the first minutes of the new year start in Tonga. If my family wanted to celebrate the first minutes of the new year in the world, then we'd be celebrating it at 3:00am the day before our Idaho mountain time got to 12 midnight. That makes staying up to midnight my time zone sound easy. From then on (my 3am the day before/Tonga midnight) we could pick any minute to celebrate the new year. Kind of messed up - huh?
This leads up to the greater point. The holiday New Years isn't all about celebrating the first minutes of the new year. It is also about being happy and celebrating new life and time on this wonderful earth for the full upcoming year - January through December.
Life is good - no matter what time zone you live in because it is our gift from God to be here. So, "Happy New Year! And may all your days of this year and the ones to follow bring you knew hope, excitement, and time to recognize this gift of life."
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.