This week or so in between Christmas and New Years is a very happy, upbeat, but mildly strange time. We’re still riding the holiday high from our shiny new toys and looking forward to what the new year will have in store for us while avoiding returning back to reality for as long as we possibly can. No matter how many strides forward or steps back we take as a society, however, there seems to be one thing we simply cannot escape from this time of year: the dreaded “New year, new me” expression (or any equally cringeworthy one of the like). Once the presents are torn open and the post-Christmas food comas are woken up from, it’s like the entire world as a whole cannot avoid the sudden onslaught of clichés surrounding the formal close of one year and ushering in of the next.
Now don’t get me wrong – I adore the underlying sentiment. I, personally, am one that genuinely enjoys partaking in the retrospection of the past year – where we’ve been, what we’ve done and seen, etc. Not just for this one week alone, but whenever I have or am reminded of the opportunity. I also am making goals and plans for 2018, while keeping myself as open as possible to life and the ideas it may have of its own for me in that time, as well. And I love being a witness to that occurring all around me, too; seeing others motivated, proposing long lists of new ideas, and otherwise seeking to improve themselves for a wide variety of reasons. But one thing that always comes to mind when I see those presumptuous quotes make their rounds annually is this:
This upcoming new year alone will not make any changes to your life if you don’t.
Not this upcoming new year.
Or the next one.
Or any of the ones after that.
The way it’s used (and overused) these days, it’s almost as if people believe that simply by chanting/posting “New year, new me” enough, that in itself will make good things happen for you come January 1st. If that alone was enough to singlehandedly change everything for any of us, we probably wouldn’t be hearing it nearly as often (and often repetitively) because it would’ve gotten the job done back in say 2012, right?
Traditional New Year’s resolutions are more often than not better in theory than they are actually carried out in reality, but they’re a good start if they’re realistic. But even the most menial ones are built on a conscious decision by the resolving individual to make these changes, meaning that these wonderful ideas and honorable goals being made into reality rest solely on the shoulders of the individual bringing them to life. We cannot simply sit around where we’ve always been, doing what we’ve always been doing, and somehow expect to yield a different result than that we’ve always gotten.
I am nowhere near perfect, nor will I ever be. I slip up sometimes, I don’t always make the best decisions, and I have my faults, some bigger than others. But I know that everything that happens in my life is a direct result of my own actions or my response to how others’ actions were presented to me. The course I find myself on now is paved entirely of my own decisions, and I honestly wouldn’t want it any other way. 2017 was a good year for me; I found a new job I adore, I made countless memories with the people I love, I traveled, I strengthened my marriage and other important relationships in my life, I crossed items off of my bucket list, I did some serious soul-searching and self-discovery, and I took strides to better myself for me and our family to name a few. But none of these things would have happened had I not put in the necessary work for them. It is up to me every day to make what I want of this life I’m blessed to live.
And if you don’t want to make any serious alterations? Reevaluating didn’t bring anything to mind that could use tweaking? That’s more than fine. If you’re content with the way your life is going and don’t see the need or feel the desire to make any changes, then that is TOTALLY OKAY, too!! In fact, that’s more than okay – it’s admirable in its own way, really. But you then relinquish the chance to place blame on anyone or anything else if you’re unhappy with where you stand at the end of the day/month/year. Choosing this route means also acknowledging the fact that nothing and no one else is responsible for you but you without the guise of rattled off life changes you know you won’t make, and shamelessly owning and defending that. You go, girl (Or guy). *snaps fingers*
Whether you concoct a laundry list of resolutions or denounce partaking in anything of the like altogether, the new year will not make for a new you without your say so and commitment to acting upon it. 2018, as with any new year, holds an immense amount of new opportunities, promise, and hope that is ours for the taking. It is up to us to decide just what to do with those and see where they take us.
Wishing you and yours a New Year filled with good vibes, good times, and absolutely everything you want it to be!