New Year's: More than a day - Greg Gelpi

Janus, the two-faced Roman god, has one face looking to the past and the other looking to the future.

As the source of the name January, that's essentially what we do New Year's - reflect on the past year and gaze into the world of possibilities for the coming year.

It's not about the first day of the year as much as it is about the previous 365 days and the coming 364. It's not so much about those 24 hours as it is about the hours leading up to and the hours to follow.

A car-jacking, burglary, hit-and-run accident and dog attack are now all in the past, and a year of new adventures lie just ahead in the soon to be.

I resolved years ago never to make resolutions again, but failing miserably with resolutions each year that resolution is no different. So, again, I make a resolution.

Despite what many would call a rather abysmal year, the kindness of co-workers and even the kindness of strangers surprised me and dispelled the remnants of what the strangers called "riffraff."

Avoiding clich?s like the plague, let me just say that I resolve to keep my incessant smile, my version of the poker face.

I resolve to continue to be stubborn, refuse to let life get me down and to always remember that tomorrow is only a day away and next year is only a year away, as the voices in my head sing to me.

I further resolve to continue to be the stereotypical "nice guy" that I have come to be and generally resolve to be me at all costs even the cost of falling victim to yet another criminal.

I also resolve to actually keep my resolutions this new year and resolve to re-resolve to maintain my resolutions in the case that my resolutions sputter and die and even in the case that they regain strength, only to sputter and die again.

When it comes down to it, 2004, as it nears to a close, is over and the mere fact that we survived is a feat in and of itself, one that we should all reflect on gratefully.

Teetering as if on the precipice of a mountain, we muster the courage and strength to reach the top and eke over the peek to peer into a blank landscape, one waiting to be filled with mountains and valleys-to-be.

In the meantime, though, we pop the cork on another New Year's celebration and, more importantly to some, another round of New Year's Day football bowl games. We partake in myriad traditions and festivities to commemorate the day, toasting to another year down and gathering momentum for the next.

The clock ticks down on 2004 and a new year dawns with no script written for us, a blank canvas for life to fill with color and intrigue and the promise that anything could happen.

Amidst the revelry of a big ball dropping in Time Square and a big peach dropping in Atlanta is the image of Janus, the Roman god of new beginnings. It will be a new year, 365 days of new opportunities, a rebirth of a people.

Greg Gelpi covers education for the News Daily. He can be reached at ggelpi@news-daily.com or (770) 478-5753 Ext. 247.