Blogger Geert van Zandbrink finds pleasure in observing those “new mes” who want to turn into a better version of themselves around the dawn of the year.
© Sven Menschel
Completely broken by the New Year’s Eve, I sat on the train to Wageningen on the first day of the freshly started year. Well, the train to Ede, obviously. My journey brought me from the south across the Meuse, the Waal and the Rhine to what the Brabanders think of as the far North. While crossing the Rhine, I looked out the window and saw two joggers in the distance, running on the dyke.
It was eleven o’clock in the morning, so it wasn’t hard to believe that these two sports lovers were true runners. They most probably went to bed early on New Year’s Eve to get up all fresh and ready for a morning jog. But while I was walking along the banks, I passed one red face after another, trudging along, and I thought: ‘I recognise this phenomenon; these are the people with the – usually temporary – “new year, new me” lifestyle.’
The January effect
A change from one day to another that coincidentally covers the formal difference of a calendar year apparently means that something new should be started in life. The stock market even has an occurrence called the “January effect”, when an exceptionally high number of new speculators enter the market at the start of the new year, causing the stock prices to rise. After a few weeks, the discipline wanes, and people return to their state at the end of the previous year.
As such, we live in a time in which we see increased numbers of joggers, but also people walking around with e-cigarettes, or flasks to achieve those 1.5 litres of water a day. At the university, the library is filled to the brims each morning with enthusiasts who have found renewed motivation, just like at the start of September, and many health enthusiasts with lunchboxes filled with healthy meals rich in proteins.
It is a pleasure to observe the “new mes”. In two weeks, their numbers will be much smaller. Whether I like it or not, the dropouts make me chuckle a bit, but I cheer for those whom I will still see going two weeks from now.
And I can laugh at myself just as well: I had made the resolution not to eat meat in January, but right after midnight, while enjoying the fireworks, I thoughtlessly put a bitterbal in my mouth. Failed. That’s how it goes.
Geert van Zandbrink is a student of Economics & Policy.