The two-headed January

I recently learned from a very special person that the month of January is named after the Roman God of Janus, a dude with two heads that point in opposite directions.  In Roman culture, he was the God of transitions and new beginnings.
The person from whom I learned this tidbit of knowledge is someone I’ve known for a few years and as time would have it, has decided to retire from a position she held for quite a while.  And she held it well.  Without going into details, I’ll just say that her bootprints will be well missed among the oaks and maples.
But there she was, even in her last days at her job, passing on wisdom to people like me, that January has two heads so that it may look in the past as well as the future.  I look at her past and admire what she has done in so many ways.  Her future as a person I may not know, but the future of her position as a professional, well, let’s just say I’ll get a first hand look.
My month of January will look forward onto a new job for myself, partially stepping into some of the roles that that wise woman once held.  To say there are large shoes to fill would be an understatement, so for that I’ll just cross my fingers and give it all I’ve got.  I’ll think of Janus as I go, forever looking forward without forgetting to look back at those who came before.
It’s easy to start a year anew by turning over a new leaf or a new page in the calendar, especially if it’s one of those funny ones with a different cartoon for each day of the year.  Even easier is to say that you’re going to do things differently, to make resolutions that you probably won’t keep, and lofty goals for the year ahead.  I know, because I do it every single year without fail.
But from what I’ve learned, the easiest thing would be a little bit of everything.  To keep one head looking on, that aspires for a fresh start and that isn’t afraid to keep going, but also appreciating the past and all that got you to where you are right now.  If I didn’t eat my weight in cookies and pork roast over the holidays, would there be a need to add an extra day of exercise each week?
As for myself in my new position, I’ll be looking back—way back—to my time when I was a little girl, trying to identify rocks and plants I found in my yard, when I first started learning that “dirt don’t hurt.” And I will look forward at the chance to share that with as many people who will listen.

Originally written/published 12/28/14.


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