It’s mid-January, and if you felt motivated enough to create resolutions for the year of 2021, the likelihood that you’re still going strong is low. I understand. Let’s not mince words: this year sucks. I’m already excited for 2022. We really thought no year could possibly be worse than the cursed year of 2020. Yet a few weeks into 2021, and clearly there is competition for the top spot of the all time worst, most miserable human year on earth (at least the Black Death didn’t have Fox News). Disinformation, terrorism, human rights abuses, global warming, deadly protests; there’s a crisis everywhere regarding everything, and let’s not forget our shining star, the pandemic. In the midst of all of this, you might be feeling powerless and frustrated, upset with the small percentage that refuses to use their power as you believe they should. Me too.
In light of all these global events, it’s important not to forget ourselves. It’s so easy to get lost in news feeds, timelines, and TV series that feed our dire need for escapism. Take a moment, and allow yourself to get in touch with your soft, human side. Even before this nightmare unfolded, I disliked the saying “new year, new me”. The first part of the phrase, “new year”, is exciting. It provides a much needed psychological barrier to life events, seasons, and transitions. It enables us to envision a better future, full of boundless curiosity and opportunity awaiting, you shed your old skin and go forth into the misty twilight of a new horizon. A clean slate. The second part of the phrase, however, “new me”, is where I cringe. I’m reminded of what Oscar Wilde once said, “To deny one’s own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one’s own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul.” Stepping into a new year, a new phase of life, you enter with all the wisdom and scars you’ve fought so hard to earn throughout a lifetime. It’s not a new you. It is you. The truest, most authentic version of your human embodiment. To discard and even deny everything before 2021 is a mistake, although I understand the temptation more than ever. Draw from it, but do not engage. It’s over, but remember the lessons.
I invite you to reflect on your resolutions now, were they optimistic in nature? Such as radiating grace, kindness, and balance? Or were they survivalists, such as “don’t get killed” by an invisible virus? Did they include four key elements; body, mind, soul, and space, or did they focus on just one, if any? Do they, truly and honestly, reflect your desires? Are you one who believes in things being too unrealistic, or are you insatiably ambitious? This year has gotten off to a rockier start than most, but it has created space for reflection, and the remembrance, that even a few weeks into a new year, you are still you, and there is an allowance for you to reevaluate and shift your goals, realign your values, and live in the realm of opportunity as opposed to doom. That being said, like me, you are absolutely allowed to be excited for the end of this year already. There is an important catch however, just because the start to this one was tough doesn’t mean it’s damned to be awful through and through. Get your eyes off this screen, get in touch with yourself, and think. To quote another poet, Mary Oliver, and to pose a question that should be asked deep within you, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”