SO IT'S a new year. But is it happy, really? Does it even know what it's in for? It's going to be absolutely stuffed with new releases. It will be hijacked by launch after launch of the latest version of pretty much everything. Then, having had barely a minute to itself, it will be tossed aside for a newer one. It's too much, even for a new year.
It can't be good for the rest of us, either. We're going to be subjected to another year's worth of smoke and mirrors. We won't have the time or money to give the vast majority of new stuff a go, even if we want to. But we'll know about them all the same. They'll be hyped like hell, till something newer comes along.
This is nothing new, of course. We've brought it on ourselves. Year in, year out, we want the next big thing even before the last big thing is out of its box. We define years in terms of gadget launches, hit songs, blockbusters. We can't wait to get our hands on the latest model so we can throw it away and replace it with the one after that.
There's no denying the thrill of the new. Every year promises a fresh shipment. And what a relief it is to be able to cast off the previous year's model. Boo, hiss to the previous year's model. Who'd want that? Well, us, last year. But forget that. That was then, this is new.
By worshipping the latest in everything we create a vicious circle: the more fuss we make about the next big thing, the more fantastically passe it will seem when the next one comes along, making us all the more keen to revere the new and revile the old. Or to scramble to be the first to declare that this year's big thing isn't quite as awesome as last year's.
It's not surprising that endless newness makes commercial sense. It certainly seems like what we want; the assumption being that if we didn't have this non-stop parade of shiny variations on well-worked themes, then civilisation as we know it would grind to a halt.
Imagine if nothing new came out this year. What would we talk about? Call me old-fashioned but I think we would talk about more interesting stuff. It might not be what the trendsetters in marketing want us talking about, but it would be a nice change.
Freed from our relentless pursuit of the new, we might make a start, the barest of starts, on all that's gone before.
We might pick over the centuries and centuries' worth of not-so-new stuff that brought us to the year 2013. We might linger over some cultural phenomenon of days gone by, without worrying about missing the hotly anticipated release of Fifty Shades of Les Miserable Hobbits in 3D, for Windows.
We might give people their lives back. Especially those people who queue for hours to buy the latest version of some electronic talisman that, by the following year, will be declared underpowered and outdated and not a patch on the next model they'll be queuing for.
If the next big thing really is as soul-searingly profound as the sales folk say it is, then it stands to reason we might like to stick with it. Instead, the pressure to replace and upgrade begins before we have put away our credit card.
It may not be good for projected profits, but there has to be something said for taking a breath long enough to wonder whether we need yet another version of something we're already happy with.
I'm reminded of this every time I reach for my mobile phone. In my eyes, it will always be a minor miracle of communication. It does more than I would ever need it to do.
But the mere sight of it annoys some of my friends. They can't believe I'm putting up with this antiquity, circa 2009. They remind me that there have been numerous hotly anticipated incarnations of my phone since that distant time. And I remind my friends that when my particular telephonic marvel came out it was marketed as the ultimate phone.
My friends shake their heads in pity. They updated their definition of ''ultimate'' years ago. I'm going to stick with the old one.
Mic Looby is an Age producer.