Wednesday, 30 December 2015

The Two Faces Of Janus

Did you know that January is named after the Roman god of gates and doorways?   that's right... Janus... he with the physiognomy that faces two ways, backwards and forwards, to the past and to the future.   he symbolised home, family, civilisation.  the doors of his temple were closed in times of peace but wide open during war to show he was no longer in residence... let's face it, a huffy deity doesn't have to hang around when neighbours start squabbling, he can just up and off at the first whiff of animosity, no mortgage or rent for him to worry about like us mere mortals.

We can blame the Romans for the tyranny of New Year's Resolutions too. their officials would publicly vow to stay loyal to the Emperor on the first day of the year then have a knees up, toasting the hob nobs and throwing the hoi-polloi to the lions... those Italians and their superstitions... i think it's their retaliation for all those years patrolling up and down old Hadrian's separation barrier in the bitter North East winters.   mind you, i totally see their point... vineyards, baths, underfloor heating or... sheep, wind, more sheep, more wind, sheep with triple layer fleece to cope with triple strength wind...  i'd be cranky and impose impossible habits on the natives too.   yeah yeah, i know all about it having abutted the border for nine years, i learnt all about sheep, wind, more sheep, more etc. etc. etc. 

After one particularly difficult year when my children were young we created a Happiness Jar.   the idea was to think of one good thing every day, no matter how mundane or simple, such as a nice lunch or an answered prayer, write it on a slip of paper and pop it into the jar.   the plan being to empty it at the end of the year and look back.   well... it was overflowing by Easter !!  it seems thankfulness and optimism are like a muscle, if you don't consciously exercise them they atrophy, wither and become pathetic examples of their original glory.   knowing "The Jar" was waiting for it's offering each evening stimulated us to search out or create examples to tell each other and  we discovered  the universe is full of little wonders waiting to be found and enjoyed, shared and celebrated.   
My resolution for 2016 will delight those of you who read this blog regularly... i intend to invest in a copy of English Grammar for Dummies and work to overcome the shortcomings in my early education. understanding WHY my punctuation is non existent and grammar occasionally metamorphoses into gobbledygook should only be the beginning of revelation.  it's a reason, NOT an excuse and there's nothing except apathy stopping me from addressing it. these areas of lack only define us if we don't strive to overcome them, it's never too late and we are never too old to learn or change.   perhaps you will be kind and leave a comment if you perceive improvement so i can take the next step and start on maths ???

Do you have plans to join Janus at midnight and look over your shoulder as one year passes into history and then peer into the unknown of the future with it's inevitable joy and despair, health and sickness, life and death?  or are you like me preferring to climb into bed with that good book you treated yourself to at Christmas and a mug of cocoa, making a conscious decision that living the moment is enough hard work for one year? 


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val said...

y Happy New Year Jeni...I like you will be tucked up in bed long before midnight XX h

lesley said...

Excellent, didn't know about Janus. I even sleep through the fireworks after reading realising for a second what had disturbed me.