New Year’s Eve…A chance to reflect; an opportunity to do better than the year before. It’s kind of lame to put so much pressure and importance on one of three hundred and sixty-five days in the year—especially when those three hundred and sixty-four “less important” days have infinitely more weight and consequence. And still, we make our toasts and pledges. Recently, at the gym, I’ve seen a steep uptick in fitness-aficionados. Sadly, that number will decline by next week, and will atrophy to nothingness come March. What is it then that prevents these once-committed folks from turning over a new leaf?
It’s easy to criticize: they’re lazy, they don’t have the willpower. Still, one lesson that’s stuck with me since Sunday School is: judge not lest ye be judged. (Despite how judgmental organized religion can be, that tenet remains a great lesson.) Also resonant since those days, is the concept of universal sin. We all fail. We all disappoint. In the end, in the majority of our “non-charmed” lives, our failures probably surpass our successes. It’s part of being human to make promises that we know we don’t have the resources or commitment to keep. It’s part of our idealism, of our hope. We want to change, we really do. I think that’s a more positive message to focus on for New Year’s celebrations: our desire to change, not our inability to attain that ideal. Rather than commit into stone vows that are unattainable, I suggest that you commit to dreams.
Dream of being a better person (sorry, Frank, you still have to start with a dream). Be that idealized self thinner, smarter, wealthier or wiser. There’s less pressure in a dream, less rules by which to fail and disappoint. I grew up governed by strict measures of what failure and success looked like, and that’s haunted me for most of my adult life. Not too late—thankfully—I’ve learned that it’s a terrible, nail-biting way to be. I’ll never be able to diminish my neurotic tendencies, or my perfectionism, though I certainly don’t need to add additional pressures to exacerbate these traits.
So, when the ball dropped on Thursday, I kissed my partner goodnight, and we celebrated a year of dreams. As romantic as that moment sounds, we’d spent the day being practical, and making actionable changes: to our grocery lists and budgets, to our expectations of professional achievements for the new year—based on our progress from the last. We’ve always been terrible at talking about finances, forecasts and goals, mostly since these discussions only occurred at the tail end of an argument. However, that day provided the perfect storm of relaxation and homeostasis for a civil discussion to occur. Our time together was so spiritually rewarding that I think it’s become our new annual tradition. A smaller, intimate affair; one to which I see us inviting our closest friends and family along. Gone are the days of Gatsbyeque parties, slurred promises and ensuing mornings of: “Wtf happened last night?”
I’m too old for that. I’d rather sit, talk and plot. It’s a very writerly thing to do—surprised that I hadn’t conceived of it earlier. I’d suggest the same to anyone who’s sick of the old traditions. The first step in real change, of course, lies in breaking with old habits.
All the best in 2016. Oh, and before I go, as promised on my Facebook Artsy Fartsy Friday post, below is the full panel from the “War of Wars” piece on which Leo is working. It’s one of three images, which, when placed together, will reveal one of the scenes from the ultimate confrontation with Brutus, the Black Queen and their horde of evil. I’ll be writing this scene in a couple of weeks and just thinking about it makes my palms sweat. I hope that each of you have something just as exciting in store for yourselves in 2016. If not, dream, and dream big.
All my love,
P.S. Since we touched upon gyms and whatnot, I wanted to give a special shout out to a reader of mine who underwent a MASSIVE physical and emotional journey this year. I’d share his/ her pictures and story here, but that’s not my prerogative, and I’d need their permission first (which I might seek out, since their journey would make a fantastic blog piece). In lieu of that, Mystery Man or Woman, you look—and I’m sure feel—amazing. Congratulations on achieving one of your dreams. Now go on…pick another 🙂