My mother taught me that the way you spend New Year’s Eve says a lot about how that year will go. Even something as simple as standing up when the clock strikes midnight will do more to ensure a year of good fortune and success than sitting down. I used to think that she brought this odd belief from Turkey, but my roommate, a high-paid professional who is not Turkish, believes it too, along with other people I know who I generally respect.
It’d be awesome if a few hours could predict the subsequent 365 days. I would go all out and spend a few thousand dollars throwing a party where there would be cocaine for everyone. I’d make many new friends and I’d bang the hottest coke whore in town. I had time to think about this because I was bedridden at home this New Year’s Even coughing up mucus and blood. Since there is no TV in my house, I watched the countdown on my computer, unsure of its accuracy.
It doesn’t matter if my mother’s belief is really true or not; it just matters if she believes it to be true. If her New Year starts in a horrible way, I predict she will indeed have a bad year. Because of her belief she will pay close attention to the bad things that happen to her while ignoring or downplaying or quickly forgetting the good things.
The problem with beliefs which attempt to predict the future is that they constrict how you see the world. The filters we call senses are already limiting enough, but now you add this additional rule which gives up any notion of an objective reality. You also throw away the concept of free will, if you believe in that claptrap anyway, and end up living a life where a few small actions can accurately predict the major currents of your life. “Oh no! A dark colored feline animal existing in my visual field! I’m fucked!” If you are that type of person, my Mom will be more than happy to do your Turkish coffee-cup fortune or analyze your dreams with a 20-year-old book she keeps in a Ziploc bag (to prevent further page disintegration).
Here’s my belief: It’s best to start the New Year in a horrible way, with illness or grave misfortune. Because as long as you don’t die, it will only get better.