I find it to be one of the quietest days of the year. It seems even the kids don't get up before a certain hour. Most things are closed and people are not rushing off to family events associated with other holidays. Look at any the traffic cams around the city and you don't see much going on.
It is a time for introspection, relaxation and for a few... college football games in the U.S along with the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose Bowl that follows. I think it must always be sunny and warm in Pasadena on New Year's Day.
I am looking forward to the new year and hope for great things for my family and for the place I live and work.
2011 will be an important year in that both provincial and federal elections are scheduled to happen due to term limits. I think it is safe to say that many people are looking for some vision.
The Economist recently said that the older people get, the happier they get.
But there was more:
Four main factors, it seems: gender, personality, external circumstances and age. Women, by and large, are slightly happier than men. But they are also more susceptible to depression: A fifth to a quarter of women experience depression at some point in their lives, compared with around a tenth of men. Which suggests either that women are more likely to experience more extreme emotions, or that a few women are more miserable than men, while most are more cheerful.
Two personality traits shine through the complexity of economists' regression analyses: neuroticism and extroversion. Neurotic people -- those who are prone to guilt, anger and anxiety -- tend to be unhappy. This is more than a tautological observation about people's mood when asked about their feelings by pollsters or economists. Studies following people over many years have shown that neuroticism is a stable personality trait and a good predictor of levels of happiness. Neurotic people are not just prone to negative feelings: They also tend to have low emotional intelligence, which makes them bad at forming or managing relationships, and that in turn makes them unhappy.
Whereas neuroticism tends to make for gloomy types, extroversion does the opposite. Those who like working in teams and who relish parties tend to be happier than those who shut their office doors in the daytime and hole up at home in the evenings. This personality trait may help explain some cross-cultural differences: A study comparing similar groups of British, Chinese and Japanese people found that the British were, on average, both more extroverted and happier than the Chinese and Japanese.
Does this sound like any particular political leaders you might know?
In fact, some of them may exhibit a little of both traits. By that, I mean, they could be extroverts with some people and neurotic with others. In other words, they have their sort of people and then there are the "others" who they fear, get angry at or who contribute to their unhappiness.
To my own end, I am looking to increase my own happiness index although I am at the age that is apparently least likely to find it.
I am also going to look at people who will lead my governments who will make an effort to measure their success at least to some degree by how happy it will make the people. I don't necessarily mean populist leadership. We saw that in the last ten years.
What I mean is that a government that focuses on employment, education and growing the economy and doesn't get diverted by the politics of division will be something I look for in 2011.
As January 1 shines bright and quiet, what do you do look for in the new year?