Maybe it’s just because Christmas is such a holiday blowout that New Year’s Day is not the big deal in the United States that it ought to be. This holiday is not uniquely American, like the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving, but the theme of self-improvement that we ponder every New Year’s Eve can be considered as characteristic of the American Experience as independence and faith.
Ours is the great nation built by migrants, both from overseas and then moving back and forth across the continent. We tell ourselves that if we have the gumption, we can leave an unsatisfactory situation and start over. And we can do it as many times as we want.
Hundreds of books in the library are about personal renewal. Some address spirit, such as April Yamasaki’s Sacred Pauses: Spiritual Practices for Personal Renewal.
Others are about health — Letha Hadadi’s Personal Renewal : Your Guide to Vitality, Allure, and a Joyful Life Using Healing Herbs, Diet, Movement, and Visualizations.
Or psychology — Jim Loehr’s The Power of Full Engagement : Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to Performance and Personal Renewal.
Or careers –Bob Griffiths’s Do What You Love for the Rest of Your Life: A Practical Guide to Career Change and Personal Renewal.
Or just the primal you — Mike Tomkies’s A World of My Own: Adventure and Personal Renewal in the Wilderness.
There ought to be some kind of American celebration around the idea that while you may be who you are today, you don’t necessarily have to be that person a year from now.