"So this is Christmas,
And what have you done?
Another year over
A new one just begun."
It was a few days before Christmas and I was counting on some holiday music in hopes of feeling festive. The air was chilled, lights were strung, and I was ready to FEEL something. Instead, I heard this jaunty little tune upon turning on the radio and was like, What the actual hell, John Lennon? You can chill.
I debated changing it because I was in the mood for something more lively, but decided that leaving it on and crying softly while driving home was a better option.
I felt unsettled. And the way that the song was phrased was almost like, accusing me of Christmas happening?
John Lennon: SO THIS IS CHRISTMAS, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!?!?!
Me: AHH I DON'T KNOW! I DIDN'T MEAN TO! I TAKE IT BACK!
...Anyway, there was some truth to his lyrics. Another year over, a new one just begun. Because, you know, that's how time works. I was super ready for the new year, with specific resolutions and small plans (I won't fool you by saying I'm going to completely transform my life or anything). The holiday came and went, spent with friends in a historical Lexington, Kentucky house that we found through Airbnb. It was even across the street from a college called Transylvania University. After some research, we found out that the students actually call themselves "Transies". I can't even make this up. These are real things that exist.
Since New Year's Day, I've seen a lot of social media posts, either condemning people for posting everything great they did in 2016, or really celebrating the fact that we are finally into 2017. Some have said that years don't really matter and we can reinvent ourselves at any point (TIME IS A SOCIAL CONSTRUCT) and others have used this as an opportunity to start over. As for me? I don't really see the point in getting irritated at anyone's opinion either way. Trying to improve yourself isn't a competition, and you have to do what works for you. It really isn't anyone else's business to tell you how to do it (unless they're like, a healthcare professional--which I'm not so maybe you shouldn't be reading this after all).
I personally see 2017 as a new beginning. It's cracking open a fresh journal with blank pages, or opening the door to a new, empty apartment. Taking down my old Force Awakens calendar at my desk and putting up my new baby animals calendar is symbolic. And maybe some of us need that grand gesture. I know I do. Something has to push me to try to better myself or I will just sleep on a pile of questionably clean or dirty clothes in my bed and eat McDonald's three times a week (and in turn, sleep with the McDouble wrapper in my bed as well).
Okay, so things haven't been that bad in a while, but mostly because I have an amazing support system and I've been learning more about myself. It's hard work every day, but I am lucky to have people who love and care about me, and encourage me to do what is best. In a way, New Year's sort of embodies that. The clock starts again, repeating work, holidays, seasons, and traditions on a cycle. They are coming whether we like it or not, so why not better ourselves for them if we choose to?
Of course, there is a lot of opportunity here to get really existential, and believe me, I often do. I used to get really upset at New Year's Eve because a whole year had flown by that I'd never get back, and I was a year closer to dying. That's weird and sad, right? So this post isn't about that. Since then, (thankfully) I've been taught to see New Year's differently. Whether you want to write out your resolutions and tape them to your bathroom mirror, or re-evaluate yourself monthly, it doesn't matter. I am proud of all of you who have goals, either big or small. I mean, one of my resolutions is to read for 20 minutes every day. That's a tiny aspiration, but I'm determined to do it.
So take a break from the negativity that is social media and everyone's loud opinions. Don't compare yourself to others, because no one has all the answers. You're the only one who knows what truly works for you. I don't think there is anything wrong with romanticizing the holiday just a little. I think about Halloween like, every day.
If you don't need a new calendar year to motivate you, then awesome. Maybe one day you can teach me your secret. But no matter your preferred technique, go for your goals. And the next time John Lennon comes around confronting you about your year in review, you'll have a whole list of things to tell him.