Brunswick resident Heather D. Martin wants to know what’s on your mind; email her at

Winter has officially arrived and I am uncomfortably aware that I have not been paying it as much attention as I usually do.

Partly, I suppose, it is because it has been unseasonably warm – so that’s on you, winter.

A lot of it, though, is because I’ve allowed myself to be so distracted by the busy-busy-busy all around me that I haven’t paused at all or paid any real attention to the days. That’s on me.

But here we are. Regardless of my inattention, the calendar on the fridge is down to its last page. A new year is right around the corner.

The first recorded celebration of a new year (at least that we know about) took place in ancient Babylonia. They marked the moment with promises to the gods and “resolutions” – but they celebrated in mid-March, when the new crops were planted, which makes sense for an agricultural society.

Ancient Egyptians tied their new year to the flood of the Nile, ancient Persia celebrated in spring when things felt new, and Chinese New Year is tied to the lunar cycle. All of which make sense for their cultures as well.


Ancient Rome marked the turn at the vernal equinox, but then we went and messed with the calendar a bunch, including adding in two entire new months, and eventually we landed here with the start of January (named for Janus, the god with two faces) happening now. I know that was a convoluted sentence. It reflects the idea it attempts to describe.

Still, while I could totally get behind the idea of a lunar connection, or tying a fresh start to spring, there is something quite “right” about marking our new year here in the middle of the dark, cold nights.

The realities of the weather force us to slow down or sometimes stay put altogether. If the internet goes down, the introspection factor increases tenfold. It is really a perfect time to take stock and make some changes.

What are your plans or intentions for 2023?

For myself, goal No. 1 is to gain some perspective. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but, what with the impending fall of democracy, our climate on a roller coaster ride, a raging pandemic and the world teetering on the edge of war, I’ve been a bit of a Negative Nellie lately.

Now, none of those things have gone away or are any less real. Things genuinely are dire and deserving of attention. However, my sour attitude isn’t helping, and I find it reassuring to realize and remember that in the broad, historical sense, things have been worse.


Take a listen to any, literally any, historical podcast and you’ll quickly see what I mean. If nothing else, impaling is no longer a common practice. Three cheers for that!

Obviously, I’m not suggesting that we all adopt a “well, it could be worse so let’s stop working” stance, but given that Buddhist philosophy as well as an endless supply of psychology articles and wealth management articles all say that attitude has a genuine and measurable impact upon outcome, I’m going to do the work with less of a black cloud mindset.

This is not a small shift. This is a major brain rewire. I am a global-scale worrier by nature. Therefore, right behind this big shift are these supporting resolutions: get better rest, hydrate more, eat more greens and pursue things that feed my soul, even if they don’t have an obvious “value” to the greater good.

The problems facing us in 2023 are not small. They will require us all to be in top form to meet – and solve them. May I suggest that you also take a little extra care of yourself, get quality sleep, drink an extra glass of water and feed your joy?

We have a lot of work to do and we’ll need to be at our best.

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