Have you ever wondered why, thousands of years ago, we decided to split the winter season into two separate years? Dividing the cold months to create an entirely new year in the latter half is one of the enigmas best left to history, I suppose, but I think we college students have as good a guess as any as to why our winter break is broken up.
The first winter months building up to the holidays are packed with everything from finals, family squabbles over Thanksgiving, the consumerism that seems to instantly increase starting Black Friday, untimely colds and altogether a loss of time—precious time spent on things that feel like the old year. While these aren’t the only things the winter and holidays bring, of course, they certainly do take up much of our time at the end of the year.
Time is the only thing I never seem to have enough of, and I think this is a common plight in the lives of most students, especially in the coming season.
But here we are, still looking hopefully past our piles of papers and projects with excitement deep down in our weary hearts because we know that winter ushers in two essentials to our well-being: rest and new beginnings.
This, I would argue, is why so many years ago we humans felt the need to split our winter into two years, one old and one new.
For the first part of the winter, the beauty of the holidays doesn’t really lie in the glitter and shine of it all. It’s a time of reflection and rest when we have the chance to put down the burdens of all the built-up stress and enjoy life and the blessed amount of extra time we have to do so. The beauty here is when the best—and sometimes hardest—things of the old year come together to remind us to take a deep breath and appreciate what, and who, we have.
And when the last minute of 2016 ticks into the new year, we receive an even greater gift: a new beginning. The second part of winter isn’t full of the same rest and reflection as the November and December months, but it offers the chance to begin again and make up for all of the lost time the old year seemed to sucked away.
New Year’s resolutions aren’t necessarily what I’m talking about here—rather, the opportunity to look on to something greater than the past and to make it what you want. This part of the winter has the potential to be bright, refreshing and exciting.
The two dichotomous halves of our winter season are both beautiful in their own ways. The first half brings rest, reflection and the time needed to enjoy what we have, while the second half offers opportunities for renewal and second chances.
In this issue of Cooglife, you will find ways to enjoy and truly live in the time you have this winter, no matter which half of the season you find yourself looking forward to the most.
Winter offers reflection, a clean slate and a plethora of other wonderful things that come along in between. Even though our ancestors probably didn’t know what it was like to take an organic chemistry final (or did they?) the week before winter break, I guess they did know a thing or two when they split up the winter season all those years ago.