“We’ve all had First Day, come out of that dark box… New life begins tomorrow.”
The Maze Runner
What I find interesting about New Years Day is that at the same time it is both a beginning and an end. But really, most things have a beginning and an end to them. For example, my foot has a beginning and an end. There is the beginning of my toe and then there is the end of my heel. Why do people celebrate New Years, but not celebrate my foot? Both have a beginning and an end? I guess that maybe the people with foot fetishes do celebrate the foot… but I find that a little creepy.
I think that New Years is interesting because it is a little like being on Lost.
First, New Years involves time travel. Think about it. What other time of year do we have one moment where we finish up one year and also begin another one? It’s like we are in an episode where time slows down and weird things happen. If you spent a little too much time inside of a bottle of Jack Daniels at New Years, that is exactly what happened: time slows down and weird things happen.
Second, just like in Lost, last season is over and we have a new season to watch. We can get all nostalgic about the characters from last season and what happened to them, but there is more TV to watch. In life, we can spend our time thinking about last year, the goals we didn’t reach and what did not go so well. Or we can just get on to the next season. We always have next season. So get to it.
And third, programs like Lost have to keep us engaged because of the damaging effects of commercials. Lost has so many plot turns, jungle scenes and explosions. The writers keep us guessing so we will be able to keep our attention through the distraction offered by Charmin Toilet Paper, Kellogs Mini Wheats, Fruit of the Loom and Pepto-Bismol.
In reality, life is just one commercial after another. Each day, we go from using our Charmin, to Mini Wheats, to Fruit of the Loom, to Pepto-Bismol! Only most of us don’t have a bunch of writers in an office creating a story out of the between-commercial time. We have to do that ourselves. And that can be a lot of work.
“It is in our stories where we find meaning to keep our attention through whatever commercials that life throws our way.”
I started the Maze Runner series this week. The book begins with the lead character Thomas waking up in a metal box and then being thrown into the world of the Glade. Born in a box and then thrown into a new world… that’s the story of our lives!
One of my resolutions this year it is to read more fiction and to think about my life more as a series of stories. It is in our stories where we find meaning to keep our attention through whatever commercials that life throws our way.
“Stories have long held a central place in human experience. Narratives create culture, change minds, and shape meaning. Some theorists have even claimed that all thought is narrative”
Keep it real.
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Green, M.C. (2007). Linking self and others through narrative. Psychological Inquiry, Vol.18(2), p.100-102. See also, http://youarenotsosmart.com/2013/12/23/yanss-podcast-014-melanie-c-green-and-how-stories-can-change-beliefs-and-behaviors/#more-2850