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The First Day of January

Sarah Sol examines the mythical influence that the 1st of January has on the rest of the year. Is the strange coincidence of the influential first day a useful means of shaping your year, or is it a curse that dooms you for the next 364 days?

Many people begin their new year with many anxieties, resolutions and worries. Some more than others.

When I was younger, my mother told me the myth that many are familiar with: “Whatever you do on the first day of January, you will do for the rest of the year.” Maybe it was my small, vulnerable 10-year-old brain, but this message struck me deeper than it should have.

Are you familiar with this legend?

The 31st of December includes planning out my January 1st so it will go perfectly, ensuring the rest of my year will go smoothly. While many wake up late, hungover from their grand parties or family gatherings, I hit the sheets no later than 10:00pm, ensuring I enter the new year well rested and early. This is so my year will not be a lazy, unproductive one.

My meal plan consists of almost every fruit and vegetable in the fridge so I can have good health in the year to come. It's important I spend quality time with all the people who are important to me. I need to let them know they are loved so they feel this way all year round.

I spend time with my family, bonding with each of my siblings and my mother. Perhaps we will watch a family movie all together or just spend enough time chatting in the same room until I am satisfied.

It's important that I text and chat with all my friends on this day as well as spend some quality time with my partner to ensure our relationship continues to grow and thrive.

All bad thoughts will be banished from my mind today, the new year will not be full of doubt or negative emotions. And of course, I have to look my best, so the year is not spent looking like a couch slob. I put on a pretty dress, brush my pre-washed hair, preparing myself not only for the day, but for the year.

And of course, I must spend the year reading, so, for the ninth year in a row I will read an entire book in a day. Some people gasp at this but if you're aware of how much I read this is not surprising.

What does your January 1st look like? Do you even have a plan? Does this affect your year?

Maybe you think me insane for being this possessed about a myth? But let me give you some proof.

Last year, 2022 was a spectacular year, and let me tell you what I did on January 1st, 2022. I woke up at 7:00am well rested and early. I spent time in the garden with my chickens, ate breakfast with my sisters, danced to music while I dressed and spun around my room wearing the prettiest dress I own. I ran errands with my mother, read a book (calm down, it was only 300 pages) and then I did my makeup and went to dinner with my partner.

No now let's reflect on 2022. I spent a good amount of time with my family, our relationships remaining stable and growing. I took care of myself and experienced a wardrobe upgrade and now 80 per cent of my wardrobe is dresses. Was this because I wore my prettiest dress? I spent a grand amount of time with my partner going out and experiencing the world together – despite our busy schedules, we made it work. Was this because we spent that afternoon together on the 1st?

How was your 2022? Did it reflect your January 1st? Can you even remember your January 1st, does this mean maybe 2022 was a year you don’t remember either?

My 2022 turned out exactly as the 1st of January did. Now let's turn to 2023. I woke up well rested. I had much reading to do as I did not finish my book the previous night, though I had great difficulty deciding whether to pause my current read, read a new entire book or finish reading both my unfinished book and an entire new one. This would be difficult. I had never read two books on January 1st before. I was stressed, conflicted and then freaking out even more because I was stressed and how dare I stress on the first of January, now my whole year is going to be stressful!

Deep breaths, Sarah, it's important to finish your first task before you begin a new one, right? So of course, I finished the last 100 pages of my book then began and finished a new one. It was a big read and a big accomplishment. I achieved all the goals I wanted to and even tied up all the leftovers from last year. That sounds like a good 2023 to me. Though this time I did not wake up at 7am I woke up at 6am. Why would I do that? I woke up at 6am to get dressed and ready for breakfast with my partner. We travelled to a cute cafe about 30 minutes from my house, it was well decorated in floral designs and super tasty. I have spent most of the year so far in nature and gardens. I wonder now if this was because of the decor in the cafe. I thought it important to make room for my partner on the first of January to ensure we spend and have time together throughout 2023. And this has proven successful and true. We are incredibly busy people with many things we need to manage alongside our degrees. Going out for breakfast bright and early was the only way to ensure we both accomplished everything we needed to. As a result, I fear I have ruined my partner’s 2023. Last year he spent his morning waking up at 7:00am and this year it's 6:00am. He's up at six for early uni classes and on the other days he's managing his business. Was it my fault for organising something so early? And of course, I’m up too, I’m up for uni, and even the other days I find myself waking with the sun even when I don't need to. Is this not enough proof of that curse?

So, what did you do on the first of January 2023? Were you sad and miserable… because then I've got some bad news for you. Were you relaxed, or lazy? Did you accomplish anything? Did you have a productive day? How has this affected your 2023 so far?

Are you panicking now? Did you complete your new year's resolution on the 1st of the year? Maybe that's why it didn’t work out. Did you pray to your gods on that 1st? Is that why you're losing faith? Did you spend your whole day cuddling your dog and now you have no friends? Or did you spend the whole day out and now you see mostly only your friends? Did you study for the upcoming semester and now every day of the year is spent with your laptop in your lap? Were you sick in bed and now your year is slow moving? Did you spend it at the beach and now you experience life with sunkissed skin? Did you party? Did you drink? Are you now a borderline alcoholic? Did you spend an hour doing yoga and now you're clear-minded? Was it your birthday? Did you celebrate? Is every day now a celebration? What did you do in January 2023, and how will you spend January 1st, 2024?


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