I’ve always kind of thought New Year’s resolutions were a bit of a joke. In a similar way that New Year’s Eve is “amateur night” when all the people that don’t normally drink and drive hit the roads in full force, it’s the same way with resolutions; people who don’t normally decide to make life-altering changes are all making commitments that they can’t keep.
Not that I’m necessarily a humbug about it; I mean, I’ll go out and celebrate. But it’s just not my holiday. 11:59 PM on December 31, 2017 feels quite the same to me as 12:01 AM January 1, 2018. The calendar is just a construct of human beings that love to quantify things, and New Year’s resolutions are just an excuse to get sentimental and feel guilty about the promises you’ve made in years past that you didn’t keep, then get fired up to make more promises that you probably won’t keep, either. A neverending loop of disappointment.
And drinking. It’s also an excuse for that, too.
I know I sound terribly pessimistic, and I don’t actually mean to be. If some people love the freshness that comes with a new year and can use that as an excuse to actually make changes and improve their life, who am I to rain all over that? More power to them.
I think I just get tired of all the hubbub around something that generally has a low success rate. To be fair, that also has something to do with my frustration with people not following through with what they say they are going to, and the fact that many don’t even care that their word means nothing anymore. So when people ask me if I made any New Year’s resolutions, I say no. No I have not. And I will not. I only say I’m going to do something when I actually plan on doing it. I don’t need a “fresh start” to decide I want to accomplish something. On a Tuesday afternoon in the middle of February, if I want to do something, I’ll make time to do it. And if I don’t, I never really wanted it badly enough, now did I?
Reading through friends posts on Facebook has been a mixture of emotions. Some people I know have had a really hard year, and I can sympathize with that. My year has been amazing, but in years past, I’ve had my share of really trying experiences so while I may not be able to relate to them completely, I am a close friend of heartache and struggle. On the flip side, I have friends that I watched travel all over the world this year or do other things that I always wanted to do, and I feel a sharp pang of jealousy. Friends who have had a truly spectacular year and experienced profound things. My heart hurts because I want some of those things too, and yet I recognize not chasing after them was my own choice. The funny thing is, even in spite of the fact that there are so many things I want (that I don’t currently see in sight or have) I can honestly say that 2017 has been the best year of my life (so far.)
Not because of any big or grand things I’ve experienced or accomplished. In many ways, this year looks much the same as years prior. Except for a few big things: Brandon and I moved back to Orange County, I fell madly in love with boardgames, and I started running (which reduced my anxiety and depression so much that this is the first year of my life I have ever felt like an almost normal human being.) The sheer happiness and freedom that running has given me has transformed me.
I’m not going to promise myself to climb any mountains, tackle any monsters, or change the world in a day. Rather, I’m going to recognize that life is not a paradigm shift, but a paradigm drift. Change doesn’t happen all at once, but slowly, over a long period of time. I don’t need to constantly paddle and battle the current with so much determination that I burn myself out; I can point my boat in the direction that I want to go, and let the river of life carry me there. I’m going to keep running, keep dreaming, and keep taking one step at time.