Death doesn’t know what a year is. The remorseless process of decline, decay and recycling the left over material has been going on for billions of years all over the universe (which is itself expanding towards inevitable burnout). The process seems unlikely to stop when the ball drops.
What’s a year anyway? The approximate time it takes a single small planet to orbit its star. That was figured out by some very clever people a long time ago, and they used the information to help organize their time -but the rest of the universe could care less. Pluto takes 248 of our years to orbit the same sun we do and there could be planets out there that take a million to orbit theirs. So why does it matter? It matters because it matters to us. It’s our earth, our sun, our lives. This is where we live and this is how we manage it.
We are more than our biology. The body-soul split that many formal religions have espoused over the years isn’t supported by the physical evidence, but it still gives a pretty good picture of how we actually live our lives. Our sense of identity isn’t located in our hands, legs or kidneys. It’s in a symbolic “heart” that has little or nothing to do with the organ in our chests that keeps the blood pumping. We are what we imagine ourselves to be.
And a year is a year because that’s how we experience it. There are inexplicable trends in the way things go. Some years are better than others, for individuals, for a country, for a sports team, for the human race. We can analyze it all afterwards to try to explain why, what forces are involved, but that’s just to make ourselves feel better. There’s more going on here than we get or are likely to. If organizing it by years helps get us through the night, especially New Year’s Eve, so be it.
Hopefully next year will be a little kinder to us all.