Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Just a Second

As I write this, less than ninety minutes remain in 2008. At the stroke of midnight, a new year begins.

Isn’t it amazing how much difference one second makes?

The time between 11:59:00 and 12:00:00 is only one second, yet in that instant we move from 2008 to 2009, from a year of campaigns to a year of a new President, from a year of economic difficulties to a year of potential recovery, from twelve months during which most of us did not stick to last year’s New Year’s resolutions to a year in which we try again.

Nothing physically changes when the clock strikes twelve.

Here in Maryland tonight, the wind is gusting to 40 miles per hour; at 12:00, the wind will continue to blow at 40 miles per hour. At one second before midnight, the sky will be dark; as the clock reads 12:00:00, the sky will still be dark. If your heart rate is 72 beats per minute, your heart will beat 1.2 times between 11:13:59 and 11:14:00 and it will also beat 1.2 times between 11:59:59 and 12:00:00.

Yet as 11:59:59 becomes 12:00:00 tonight, a whole new year begins.

Jokesters among us will blink during that second then say, “hey, I haven’t seen you since last year.”

In that one second, many of the negatives we experienced during the last twelve months are erased and the door opens to a whole new world of positive possibilities. Even if we have never lost the weight we said we would in New Year’s resolutions in the past, it is possible we will lose the weight in the next year, so we make that resolution again.

Any dream we have could become reality: zero balance credit card debt, a clutter-free house, a new job, a new lover, world peace.

In just over one hour, that one second will flash across the Eastern Standard Time Zone in the United States. Millions of people will engage In a shared collective countdown: 10, 9, we watch our clocks or the readout on a TV screen, 8, 7, fiftysomethings see Dick Clark on TV and remark on how young he still looks despite the slurred speech pattern resulting from a stroke a few years ago, 6, 5, partygoers ready their champagne glasses as one brave soul prepares to pop the cork, 4, 3, some people are already asleep, viewing this as just another Wednesday night, 2, 1, but sentimentalists like me take a deep breath in that remaining second and shout …


1 comment:

Rita@Goldivas said...

Happy New Year to you, too, Bernie!