Every morning, when I wake again under the pall of the sky, I feel that for me it is New Year’s day.
That’s why I hate these New Year’s that fall like fixed maturities, which turn life and human spirit into a commercial concern with its neat final balance, its outstanding amounts, its budget for the new management. They make us lose the continuity of life and spirit. You end up seriously thinking that between one year and the next there is a break, that a new history is beginning; you make resolutions, and you regret your irresolution, and so on, and so forth.
…That’s why I hate New Year’s. I want every morning to be a new year’s for me. Every day I want to reckon with myself, and every day I want to renew myself. No day set aside for rest. I choose my pauses myself, when I feel drunk with the intensity of life and I want to plunge into animality to draw from it new vigour.
Antonio Gramsci, “Sotto la mole” column in Avanti! January 1st 1916
Written with a young man’s passion and righteousness — he would have been 24 or so at the time. I get it, though, his impatience with the artificiality of it all: the assumption that life is there to be bracketed within the numbers; the pressure to stocktake; the mandatory mood of “celebration” — celebrating, in effect, our domestication.
I’ve been slave to these things for most of my life, but less so in recent years. I think it’s living in the company of two unhinged forces of nature, aka children, for whom each day brings exactly the same potential for mischief and wonder as the day before. Waking into any morning with them at hand is always brighter, by orders of magnitude, than Christmas, birthday and New Year rolled into one — and those calendar highlights correspondingly fade into irrelevance.