Once again twelve months have ticked by giving way to a brand new year and fresh sudoku calendars. For many, this is also the time of fresh starts, new beginnings and those infamous resolutions. This transition from one date to the next symbolizes a completion of Earth’s journey around the sun, at least from when we started the clock, giving way for a massive celebration of our ability to practice the ancient art of addition. 2016+1=FIREWORKS! Yes, the New Year’s Holiday is theoretically a symbol of hope and change, allowing ourselves the freedom to wipe out our past misdoings and pledge to be different. With champagne in hand, Auld Lang Syne’s lyrics still getting the better of us and a kiss for the ages, we salut to another year with promises and resolutions.
It is idyllic. The mood of the holiday usually overwhelms us all into believing that we can all be better people. I, on the other hand, have predominately been a major critic of this time of year. For starters, the date is completely arbitrary, derived from ancient Roman traditions. We had to make a day that ceremoniously flips the switch, but couldn’t it be any day? January 1st is just another day. Additionally, I have felt it silly to make promises to myself and others just because of this arbitrary date. Resolutions, I have believed, are avenues to disappointment and failure. We have heard and seen far too many stories of people who have set their goals, made plans, spent thousands of dollars, and are right back on the couch in February. Lastly, I usually have felt that these goals are generally superficial in nature, focused more on the looks rather than health of the individuals making them. As someone who is plagued by dysmorphic thoughts of this nature, it has made me put up a brick wall against it all. I just can’t handle it.
If you have cringed through the last paragraph and made it here, I have had a change of heart regarding the New Year. There is hope for this old grinch yet. Over this last holiday, my wife and I decided to escape the chaos of the party and enjoy some togetherness in a more natural setting. The wilderness has always been our special place of reflection and reverence, a passion we both can share. While not entirely disconnected from society, we rented a tiny cabin on a mountainside accessible only by an uphill, six-mile ski. Paradise.
Due to the extended travel time, I had ample thinking room to ponder about a new year and everything that it entails. I also became quite the hypocrite, putting together a list of things (notice the hesitation on using the word ‘resolution’) that I could change for the better. Climbing the side of a mountain I couldn’t help but chuckle at myself as I grew my list of changes and betterments. It actually made me slightly giddy, hopeful even. I don’t get hopeful for myself too often. Thinking very little of it for the rest of the day, we had a terrific time exploring, playing games and just simply being. There was nothing more that we had to do to make it ‘officially’ a new year. We went to bed early to the sounds of wind ripping across the tin roof and crackles of wood in the fireplace.
It was dark when we woke up, the stars were still emblematic figures in the sky. The best motivator/enabler of staying in bed is of course coffee so I poured two cups while the room began to warm with light. As the colors changed and as the stars slowly faded away, I couldn’t help but feel the power of what a new day can bring. Given that it was, in fact, the first sunrise of the new year, I also thought about allowing it to be something more. Why not allow myself to reset with the rest of the world? Why not utilize this time of year to reflect and resolute? Why fight what appears to be a good thing? Why not give in to a new year and celebrate the fact that it is still a beautiful world that I am so fortunate to be apart of?
In my heart I know the value of positive thinking. I am, however, a practitioner of allowing negative thoughts and emotions overwhelm me. I know that I need persuasion or reason to allow myself to hope and wonder, with all aspects of life. I also know that I am not the only one. I believe that most, if not all, people want to do good for themselves and the people they care about. It is important for us to grow and evolve to reach this goal. Knowing that, maybe the new year isn’t the excuse for resolutions. We don’t act in such grand ways based on excuses (we actually use excuses to do nothing). I think maybe January 1st is instead a catalyst for change. It is the extra nudge that we absolutely need to push us over the edge and beyond our comfort zone of the last 12 months. Of course, many might use it as an excuse, but who am I to judge someone on their own self worth. I believe that these resolutions are a testament to the human spirit and our ability to change. We can be better people just by trying. Allowing ourselves to have a specific day to reset is ok, and frankly it is needed so we can have something to hold on to.
As I write, this nonsensical rambling is far more a reminder to myself than a preachy letter to the editor. If I don’t write it down, I loose these ideas and fall back into my thoughts and self deprecation. Since last weekend, I have put together a bit of a wish list of resolutions for myself, but I am not going to use them as the law. Rather, I would like to try some new things and maybe alter some behaviors. The fact that I made these resolutions here at the new year is an idea that I am settled and content with, relinquishing my critique of the fad.
So cheers to the new year and the resolutions you all have made. Remember to keep the desire of being better you in your heart and don’t judge yourself off of the progress others have made. That is one of my flaws and something that I resolute to work on.