Editorial – The New Year

The last editorial for 2015, on the New Year, resolutions and a Nintendo set from 1986.

The holiday season is rich in tradition. Everyone had their own festive and reflective traditions that they rely on to celebrate the end of one year and to welcome in another.

An old friend of mine created my favourite New Years tradition. For years, he would spend New Year’s Eve constructing a giant cardboard cutout that was supposed to represent him. He and his wife would host a small New Year’s party with their closest friends, and he would invite all of us to write their woes of the past year on the cardboard cut out.

At midnight, we would douse the cardboard man in gasoline and set it on fire, watching the cardboard, burn in the snow, alongside all the written woes of the year. Burning Mikey, as my friend dubbed it, was his own version of Burning Man, and it is by far the coolest tradition I have heard of.

New Year’s is revered as a fresh start, a chance to do things differently, whether it’s something small like pairing matching socks when folding laundry or something big, such as a lifestyle change. And everyone’s versions of fresh starts are different. That’s why they are so intriguing to ask about – what do others want to do differently and why.

I spent the majority of my holidays playing Mario 3 on an original Nintendo set. Every time I would make a huge mistake, I would just press the reset button and start over again. It annoyed my brother, who I was playing against, but it comforted me. It was refreshing to know that no matter how huge the mistake, pressing reset was always an option.

We don’t get the luxury of a reset button in daily life, but that’s why New Year’s is refreshing – it’s like a pseudo reset button, where we get to pull up our socks and try to do better with another year.

I have crafted my own version of Burning Mikey, as that tradition holds a sweet sentiment to me. However you choose to ring in the New Year, with promises of change or no promises at all, I hope that it brings some kind of comfort to you. That’s what fresh starts are all about.