Goodbye Dragon, Hello Snake. When everyone at the New Year’s Eve party was clinking their Champagne glasses to toast the new year, more than one person expressed hope that their 2013 would be an improvement over 2012, the Year of the Dragon. I didn’t have the same reaction, because my 2012 was like most years, very good, but because a few friends died, you could hardly call it perfect. Since we can’t know what the new year will bring, we find ourselves turning to people who think they can. What the Year of the Snake portends varies a lot depending on whether you rely on the Celtic, Indian or Chinese interpretations of serpents.
I favor the Celtic version. Since snakes shed their skins, so the story goes, they represent rebirth and renewal. One website on Chinese Astrology makes the snake sound a lot like an introvert, as I described the latter in blog posts last week. It represents reflection, contemplation, and learning, all of which appeal to me, although I was born in the Year of the Dog. Apparently those born in snake years also value material wealth. Other lists characterize snakes as “acute, aware, cunning, proud, vain,” even “vicious.” The more websites I look at, the more I find just about every human characteristic used to describe the snake and many in contradiction to each other.
Whichever year you were born, there’s no point trying to follow the vague and hard-to-interpret future forecasts of the so-called seers. We all hope that 2013 fulfills the traditional wishes for happiness, health and prosperity, even though we know that no matter what animal sign we’re born under, no year passes without its joys and sorrows, its high points and low points. The best year may be the one in which we come to terms with them all.
For those like me who don’t make resolutions, your last line serves to focus my growth for the year: to come to terms with the reality that at my age, the year will inevitably be one with joys and sorrows. In the seven days of this new year, I’ve already experienced joy, contentment, and surprise, but also sadness with the suicide of an acquaintance and another cancer diagnosis in my Short Stuff readers group. I’ve also landed on a book I recommend that you may already have discovered: The Gift of Years.