When my dad and I first watched the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, we timed the silence that composes the first scenes of the film. Except for the noises of the ape-like creatures and piercing sound omitted by the space obelisk, there was complete silence for twenty-nine minutes and thirty seconds. Halfway through the silent period, my brother left the room, certain that nothing else was going to happen. However, for the rest of us in the room, we sat and wondered when the silence would break, when the “action” would surely begin to entertain us and our science fiction appetites. Soon enough, the silence ended, and the main plot of the movie began, complete with humans that stood upright and spoke in a language we understood.
However, though the film was fantastically creepy in more ways than one, it has offered a way in which I look at the new year. Granted, I secretly believe that the idea of a New Year’s resolution or better one’s self for the sake of January 1 is for the birds. I believe more in the “Why not today?” sense of improving one’s self, but allow me to explain myself. 2010 was one of those years that wasn’t awful by any means, but it wasn’t on the top of the list either. I experienced my first immediate family death, I struggled losing weight, and I had very difficult fall semester. On the flip side of these negatives, I know there’s a Heaven, I lost a decent amount of weight, and I came out of Fall 2010 with a 3.9 GPA. Though I had my successes, 2010 just seemed like a year with a lot of hurdles that needed to be jumped.
In spite of my dislike for New Year’s resolutions and the unique year that was 2010, I know that 2011 will be a big year that I will change in many ways – both on purpose and as a result of simply growing older. This is the year I act as a student teacher, the year that marks the beginning of the end of my college career, and the year I make decisions that will affect the rest of my life. Currently, I am in the struggle between attending graduate school or beginning my career as a secondary grades English teacher after graduation in 2012. I panic about GRE scores, the fact that graduate schools can reject applications, where I will live, and how I will support myself. On the other hand, I think about teaching in the classroom right away, a place where my heart always leans towards, rather it be on the secondary or college level. This year also opens doors to developing healthy new habits such as frequent exercising and attempting to drink more water than diet soda. Additionally, 2011 is a fresh start where I can work to improve relationships with the ones I love and develop new ones so that I can shed my shy, awkward coat. The possibilities may not be endless, but they are numerous.
Right now, I am living in the silence of 2011. Much like 2001, there must be a round of quiet before the real action can begin and our lives can begin to roll in the right direction. Though the silence makes us antsy, and may even cause others to leave the rooms that are our lives, a lot can be learned by lingering in the quiet. We can contemplate our goals, motives, and even decide what’s important and what isn’t. No, the silence isn’t always exciting, but it gives time for everyone, including myself, to realize that each day is a fresh start, regardless of the date on the calendar.