I remember dramatizing a groan whenever my parents told us we were going skiing over the weekend. Not because we disliked skiing, but because we thoroughly hated the drive. Two hours in the car was a childhood hell. Back then, time was skewed: weeks felt like years and years weren’t even fathomable. Time was endless and life developed steadily and simply; little by little.
Now, another year passes and it feels like weeks. There aren’t enough hours in a day or minutes in an hour. Yet, the amount of development that occurs in a swift 365 days repeatedly proves substantial in adulthood. As we pass through the seasons we’re lucky if our highly sought-after New Years resolutions stick, because we’re mostly dealing with what’s put on our plate in front of us, which is often full. It isn’t until those last few weeks of December when the high speed, wind-blown joyride slows enough to catch our breath and reflect on another year with wide eyes.
Often, I find that this time of year is not so much met with goal-setting or resolution brainstorming for the fresh days to come, but rather an inner check-up in the present. How am I now compared to one year ago? What critiques would my present-self give to the past? What are my revelations?
Resolutions are inherently optimistic, and optimism is good. The “new year, new me” cliche has a place in the spirit of NYE because there’s merit in wanting a clean slate. But, if we’ve learned anything from the previous years, profound change does not happen at the strike of midnight on the 31st. In fact, it takes a tedious reflection of all 365 days for me to even realize what small (yet significant) change was instilled. This is perhaps why we find ourselves disappointed in February or March that none of our intricate plans of transformation were executed with perfection.
Perhaps, this time, we can reflect on our revelations, then go into the New Year not with resolutions but with an open heart and clear headspace. We can fearlessly accept the uncertainty of tomorrow, the next day, and the year, because we must. We can also balance that acceptance with the knowledge that there are many aspects of our lives, in this moment - in the present - that we can actually claim authority over.
So much of this year consisted of mantras that encouraged me to embrace the unknown. But when hardships arose in my personal life - incidents where I had to make a decision - it was then when I realized how quickly I could turn my whole world upside down with one move. That idea is scary, yet empowering.
Without planning on it, 2018 taught me how accessible the world can be; how a curiosity and determination to see it is life changing yet daunting. It pushed me to follow my intuition a little more - both in creative work and everyday nuances. It also showed me that social media is the Disney movie of marriage and life in general, and in reality it can be messy, painful and unstable. It taught me that vulnerability is healing, despite its intimidation, and it showed me that meaningful relationships take actual, tangible work - a cliche I often dismissed.
These revelations, among others, reiterate my need to walk into a new year with curiosity and thirst for more growth. Of course I hope to better myself by setting good intentions, but with the flexibility that life could pick you up and place you on a different path with no warning. What matters most is how I decide to endure forth with what’s in front of me.
To you, 2018.