Happy New Year!

May this New Year be filled with health, happiness,
and sweet times together for you and your loved ones.

My head tilts slightly as it does when I’m confused, and no, that never actually helps.

Or maybe it does, because just then I catch up. The card is a hand-written greeting from the Baycrest Foundation in Toronto. I sent them money last year to sponsor/support a seriously senior guy who was raising money by walking some aspirational distance so I’m on their don’t-forget-about-us contact list. And if I follow the breadcrumbs, the Baycrest Foundation supports the Baycrest Centre.

Founded in 1918 as the Toronto Jewish Old Folks Home, Baycrest continues to embrace the long-standing tradition of all great Jewish healthcare institutions to improve the well-being of people in their local communities and around the globe.

“Aha!” I think, “It’s for the Jewish New Year. But why so early?”

I have Rosh Hashanah mentally scheduled for about the third week of September because that’s when it occurred in my first year of university, when I first became aware of it. But due to the lunar basis of the Jewish calendar, Judaism’s High Holy Days and festivals wander about with reference to the Gregorian calendar. Rosh Hashanah happens sometime in September or October, and this year that sometime is this coming week.

So I wasn’t ready for the Jewish New Year. But ready or not, Jewish or not, it comes around, you know? And although I appreciate mid-winter festivals as much as the next Canadian, September always feels more like the start of a new year than does January. Even though I’m no longer in school, there’s just something about picking up the threads of my regular life after a few months of summer. It’s the time of year my mind naturally turns to setting new goals and to re-committing to old ones.

Now back to the senior who provoked all of this and who knows something about setting goals: Marvin Gordon. After walking 1 million steps last year in time for his 100th birthday on 31 December, this year he’s taking part in the first-ever Walk for the Ages event to raise money for the fight against dementia. Maybe he’s read the back of Baycrest’s card.

Thank you for helping us create a world
where every older adult enjoys
a life of purpose, inspiration, and fulfilment.

Shana Tova! May it be a good year for Marvin and for all of Baycrest’s clients. And may we all enjoy a life of purpose, inspiration, and fulfilment and help create a world where others can, too.

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8 Responses to Happy New Year!

  1. Tom Watson says:

    What a wonderful endeavour by Marvin Gordon.

  2. Jim Taylor says:

    Marvin seems cut from the mould of Captain Tom Moore. Good for him.

    I’m intrigued by the notion of New Year starting at various times, depending on the cultural calendar. The Ethiopian New Year, for example, starts with the spring equinox, March 21. Which suggests that we could make New Year’s Resolutions almost any time in the year, confident that somewhere it was a New Year. (Rather like the drinker’s excuse, that the sun is over the yardarm, somewhere.)

    Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim T – I think Marvin was inspired by Capt Tom Moore – and who knows how many he has inspired in turn? Re successive new years, we usually celebrate the Lunar New Year with a dim sum excursion. Now we can add the Ethiopian one to our calendar. 🙂

  3. September brings the crisp weather that quickens steps and reminds me of the fragrance of never-before-opened books. Adventures, especially intellectual ones, beckon. I welcome another “New Year’s Day” that is not blanketed in snow, frozen in ice, or threatening in other ways. You make me think about the way the Christians adopted other festivals as a safety umbrella for their clandestine celebrations. Without intentionally appropriating another culture, perhaps a little borrowing is allowed? And the determination of this inspiring man deserves emulation. Thanks for another great story!

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – IMO (having no culture that anyone would want to appropriate for chicness or profit), I’m a supporter of cultural melding/blending. It seems to me it’s a mark of respect as long as it’s done without exploitive intentions.

  4. Good for Marvin and his cause. Thanks for inspiring me today.

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