Some Personal Reflections On New Year’s Eve

There is only one holiday that approaches the status of holy day in my heart and mind and it is the one we celebrate during the late hours of tonight, across midnight, and into the early hours of tomorrow.

As temporal beings whose every experience is temporally constructed time is fundamentally constitutive to our lives. If there are any aspects of our experience which deserve a day of reflection, gratitude, hope, revelry, and the tipping of glasses, it is a holiday that celebrates Time. A night where we are encouraged to take stock of the past, prepare ourselves for the future, and to gather with everyone else around us for one jubilant moment together in the present.

Probably every emotion to which we are susceptible has a threefold temporal dimension to it. Emotions are inherently embodied experiences which spread through our bodies, and the more intense they are, the more they focus our minds on the stress the moment has on our bodies in the present. And what our bodies stress is in the present is what we stress is in the present.

But what effects us in the present is always constituted but why we are invested in from the past and our feelings about its future.

And this is a night for me for thinking hard about the past and thinking hard about the future and feeling intensely in the present what they both mean to me as a being who would be nothing without his past and who will be nothing without his future.

Of course the cognizance of these relationships we have to past, present, and future every year take more specific forms. In recent years past, I dreaded the arrivals of new years as years that had come too soon—or that I was running late for and was, in some significant way, going to miss.

But last year I knew was the last year I was late for, the last one I would have to miss. I would finally overcome delays and get caught up so I could be on time for future years, greet them ready for them, and savor them while they lasted.

And now, I admit I feel a little anxious, a little nauseous today about finally meeting a new year on time this time, tonight. When I was a kid it was easier to optimistically throw myself head first into new time. But now, my increased hope carries with it an increased sense of responsibility.

My optimism now is not and cannot be that things simply will be great but, rather my optimism now must be that I will have it in me to make them great, because that is the only remaining way for them to become great for me. And that is a frightful only.

But tonight I meet a whole new year and I’m going to do it on time. I am going to have at my disposal a whole lot of fresh new time like I haven’t had in a long time.

And it’s all up to me this time. There will be no one else I could blame this time. And no way I could say I didn’t have enough time.

It’s just time.

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.


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