Happy New Year, friend.
New Year’s has become synonymous with parties, noisemakers, and celebration. Many cities around the globe usher in the new year with a literal bang, launching fireworks to illuminate the midnight sky. In New York City, Times Square hosts millions who come together for one night to cheer, smooch, and belt out Old Lang Syne with soon to be forgotten acquaintances at the stroke of twelve.
The one-second transition between 11:59 p.m. on December 31 and 12:00 a.m. on January 1 seems magical, doesn’t it? It’s a time synonymous with reset, reflection, and resolution. We’re gifted permission to cast off stale goals that grew dusty with cobwebs of procrastination. Ignore the dimmed light of our past January passions and reignite new ones. Clean slate. Fresh start.
But, it doesn’t actually work that way.
(Sorry to drop that bomb without a spoiler alert.)
Unresolved issues between loved ones remain. The desire for workplace advancement lingers. Yearned for reconciliation still aches deep within us. I don’t mean to be a downer. It’s just more complicated than waiting for a new, clean year to roll around.
I spent New Year’s in bed sleeping after a few extra hours of cuddling on the couch with my husband of 13 years. I woke up the morning of January 1, 2016 the same person I was in 2015. Though a life can certainly be changed suddenly, big change takes place most often over the course of a lot of time. If you’ll excuse the overused metaphor, it’s like a fine wine that ages to perfection with each passing year. In years past, I’ve let myself be overwhelmed with the potential of a new set of 12 months set before me. Who needs that kind of pressure?
Now, at almost 35 year years old, I appreciate the gift of a lifetime to mature and grow into the person I’m made to be. Rome wasn’t built overnight. (Such abundance of rich, overused sayings!) In full disclosure, I do have a few goals for the year. I’m certainly not discouraging making plans and setting goals. But we’re foolish to think simply making the plans and setting the goals is what makes them happen. Come January 1st (ok, maybe 2nd) we must actually DO something. We must take the first step. This is often the hard part for me. You, too?
If we want to experience resolution between loved ones, we must pick up the phone. To achieve workplace advancement, we must go above and beyond and be kind and gracious along the way. If we want to bask in the glow of reconciliation, we must forgive and turn our anger into restorative love. It takes action. As 35 years on this earth comes in to focus, I’m finally content being the same person on December 31st of one year as I am on January 1st of the next. She’s pretty nifty. Sure, she’s got room to grow and things to do. She hopes to sign with a literary agent, write a new book, and attend some cool conferences. She also wants to be a better mom and wife and not stay in so much on the weekends.
All sorts of miraculous things happen during that cusp of time between one year and the next. Babies are born. Saints are ushered home heavenward. New love is found. Dreams appear out of the midst of soon to be bygone times. But the deceivingly mundane also occurs in this space of time. A wary mom stumbles in to a nursery for a midnight nursing. A homeless man is shown extra kindness in the acknowledgement of a stranger. These things happen in quiet and chaos. In solitude and among a crowd. It’s all wonderful and worth celebrating.
It’s a new year, but I’m the same old me. For now.