By Tim Hayes

Hundreds of thousands of revelers may pack Times Square on Dec. 31, waiting for that big lighted ball to drop, but that shouted countdown, all the hugging and kissing, “Auld Lang Syne” playing in the background – I always find that hubbub so anticlimactic.

Okay, we change the calendar on the front of the fridge.  You have to get used to using a new numbered year when writing checks.  But nothing really feels different.  At least not to me.  It never has.

For my money, Labor Day and New Year’s Day should trade places.  Here’s why.

When late August and early September roll around, things actually feel different.  A new school year begins, and whether you’re dealing with the first day of kindergarten or the first day of college, you know that some tectonic plates deep beneath you have shifted.

Somehow, everything’s new.  New clothes, new teachers, a new school building or college campus, new books, new friends, new challenges, and new opportunities – they surround us, unavoidably and inalterably.

A new year truly begins, for everyone.  Whether you have kids in school or not.  Right now marks the real New Year.

In the workplace, summer vacation absences tail off, and you know it’s time to get back to some focused effort.

Conversely, as the calendar year ends, it offers a nice time to reflect on 12 months of productive work.  Life typically slows down the last week of December, as family gathers to spend time.  Why not use that point to honor all those who labor?

Just one man’s opinion.  Have Labor Day and New Year’s Day switch places.  They’re both federal holidays already, so what the heck?

So, Happy New Year, everyone.  Lay off the gas around those crossing guards.  Teachers, may God bless each and every one of you.  I couldn’t do what you do for five minutes.  Kids, play nice, whether in second grade or 16th.  Moms and Dads, enjoy the return of schedules and structure to your homes after another summer whipsawing between boredom and mayhem.

To my own kids, all of whom are in college this year, you are the greatest.  All the pride and love a Dad can give is yours, always.  Oh, and one favor, please?  As Mom and I begin this new phase of Empty Nesterhood, throw some prayers skyward that I don’t drive her any more crazy than usual.

That could be your New Year’s gift to her.  And it could be a huge one.  Just sayin’.

Copyright 2014 Transverse Park Productions LLC and Tim Hayes Consulting