The Calendar Year
January 4, 2011 § Leave a comment
When you own a beautiful calendar it’s often difficult to give it up–even when the print only marks the past. This lovely little Chinese desktop version was a gift from the family of my good friend and fellow visiting Oxonian, Jessica. Besides the months and numbers, I can’t read one character. That’s sort of part of the charm. It was given to me when I visited Jess and her family close to the Chinese New Year last winter. It was the year of the Tiger, the animal sign I was born under and I always felt like it carried me luck as I graduated, found a job and placed it on desk of my very own.
Gifting a calendar, especially in the month of January, is a significant one. The month of January, named after the Roman god of of gates and doorways, ‘Janus,’ is often depicted with two faces looking in opposite directions. In our western linear sense of time this is construed as past and future.
Reflecting on past, future and friends, I can’t help but think of the typical New Years song often sung by millions just after midnight. Those of us familiar with the film classic ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ can still hear George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) yodel those “ol’s” like a seasoned crooner. Auld Lang Syne is one of those songs that few people know the significance. The song’s origin is from an Old English poem and according to the popular translations, the title and chorus hub translates loosely as ‘for old times sake.’
To better explain the jist of the song, I took this excerpt from Wikipedia’s account of Old Long Syne, by James Watson (1711):
Should Old Acquaintance be forgot,
and never thought upon;
The flames of Love extinguished,
and fully past and gone:
Is thy sweet Heart now grown so cold,
that loving Breast of thine;
That thou canst never once reflect
on Old long syne.
- On Old long syne my Jo,
in Old long syne,
That thou canst never once reflect,
on Old long syne.
There are friends in your life that no matter where you met, how long since you’ve spoken, will remain in your fondest memories. Remembering them through the hardest of times will often carry you through.
So rounding back to the calendar gift that was graciously bestowed upon me last January, I realize that it may have been the most important gift I received all year, which was perhaps beyond their intentions. I counted the days as a student furiously finishing my degree. I nervously glanced at it as I hoped for a future in my intended field. I proudly placed it on my desk at my place of work. Every time I did, I had well-wishing friends and a treasure trove of memories to propel me through.