Saturday, September 02, 2006

Labour Day: The Real New Year's Eve

Labour Day ought to be our official New Year's Eve; the Tuesday after, our official New Year's Day.

Labour Day started off as a celebration of workers, but really it's the last day of the old year. It's the last day of summer hols; last day to laze away; last day of the CNE. It's full of nostalgia and squeezing out every drop of fun. It's the harbinger of a new school year, maybe even a new school and the transition into greater resposibilities. Most of us geared ourselves up for the new school year for 12, 20, 22 years, long enough that psychologically we're programmed to think of the Tuesday after Labour Day as being the first day of the new year. Labour Day week-end became the official end of summer, of working at a slower pace, of doing something temporary (e.g., a summer job); it's the official deadline to prepare for working at full force, working at something new, working our permanent job (whether school, university, or the office).

Labour Day is much more New Year's Eve than December 31st. It's real, unlike New Year's Eve, which has that forced party atmosphere that happens only at the end of the day and that festooned glitzy ball we all watch to see drop on the precise stroke of midnight. Then we all go home to feel like crap the next boring day. Then what?

Whereas on Labour Day, we hang out all day, soaking up every precious moment. We barbecue, we get together with friends, we watch the Labour Day Classic, we check that knapsacks and new clothes are ready for the next day, we talk about what the next day will bring, we go reluctantly to bed and wake up the next morning, excited, enthused, refreshed, nervous about what unfamiliar things await us or about returning to work, not summer-hour work, but the usual full-focussed work of the winter and all the rewards that can bring. We feel hope about the future that begins the very next day.

Labour Day is what New Year's Eve ought to be: fun.

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