I saw a post on Mastodon this morning about the futility of making resolutions for an arbitrary 365 day period.

This didn’t sit quite right with me, so I pondered it for a while and realised what my objection is. I don’t really mind the notion that resolutions are futile (back in 2011 I moved away from the idea and language of resolutions), but I don’t agree that the time period is arbitrary.

Of course, the 1st January is semi-arbitrary – but today we return to the same relative position in the solar system that we were at 365.25 days ago, having travelled an astronomical 9×1011m in the meantime. In July 2022 we were 3×1011m away from where we are now.*

Having completed our annual pilgrimage aboard the good ship Earth, I think that it’s fair enough to stop and reflect on what has happened and changed, to celebrate making such a grand journey in time and space, and to look ahead to what might be this time around.

It made me appreciate again just how governed by “the stars” our timekeeping is. Days obviously correspond to the spinning of the earth. Months broadly correspond with the orbit of the moon. Seasons are entirely due to the orbit of the earth, as is the year. In fact the only artificial constructs are time periods less than a day (hours, minutes) – at least until you get to atomic vibrations and light wavelengths – and the grouping of days into a week, which is arguably a theological construct (and there have been interesting studies on the effects that different lengths of week have on humans).

The 1st January is only semi-arbitrary because it’s likely related to the winter solstice (and possibly the perihelion of it’s orbit), as is Christmas Day. But it also made me wonder whether Australians are more laid back than us Brits because their New Year celebration is heading into the height of summer, rather than the depth of winter? I guess in theory starting the year with days getting longer should be nicer than days getting shorter, but I do slightly shudder at the thought of the cold, dark, and wet months ahead in the UK.

Anyway, my not-resolutions are to follow. The last few years could be summarised as “make it to next year”, but it would be nice to have a slightly higher bar this time around!!

Every blessing for 2023, and I pray that God’s light would illume whatever darkness you are facing.

*All assuming a reference point of the Sun.