Once again, a new year is upon us. It seems we’ve survived the Mayan Apocalypse, every possible parody of Gangnam Style, a very contentious US Presidential election, lots of bad fashion fads (is neon finally gone?), a few bad movies and more than our fair share of “look at me, I’m better than you” social network status updates. And how do we celebrate such survival? By getting another chance at doing it again!
January 1st marks the start of so many “new” things. People go on diets, take up exercising, make plenty of life-altering resolutions. All on this one day. That’s a lot to ask for one day of the year. I also think it’s a lot to ask of ourselves. How do we go to bed one night, perfectly content that we’ve “made it”, yet wake up with an urgent need to revamp our entire life?
I’m not exactly sure how the brain works, and I know it’s an absolutely amazing organ. But, why the complete 180 while we’re catching the last few ZZZZs of the year? Is there something in the name January? Sure, it’s derived from the Roman god Janus who not only had to faces and could see both the past and the future, and was thought to be the god of beginnings. Makes sense that Julius Caesar would chose Janus as the origin of the first month of the year when the new (Julian) calendar was created in the early 5th Century. Beginnings. Looking back, while at the same time looking forward. Reflecting but also taking action.
For as much as we are independent and individualistic, this idea of starting anew on January 1st is so strong we’re unable to break away and “Just Do It” whenever we want. Marketers are on to us. They’ve already started with the “new year, new you” ads and sales on diet programs, exercise equipment, stop-smoking medication, and deals on every way we can “fix” ourselves. So much so, it makes me wonder how any of us pulled through December in the sorry state we were in.
Luckily, though, January 1st will be here soon enough and we can finally start on that path to being “new” again. Although, I’m wondering if any of these marketers have ever been on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Foursquare or, better-yet, Pinterest? From all of these social networks, it seems we’re all pretty darn AWE-SOME! Just look at all the cool places we’re visiting. The many fabulous foods we’re eating. The celebs we’re rubbing elbows with. All the free stuff being thrown our way. The holiday gift pics and videos, alone, are enough to demonstrate that our lives don’t need to be changed.
Seriously, when was the last time you logged on to Facebook to see that your friends were anything but seeing, doing, saying, sharing, liking, thinking, planning or experiencing something better than you. Does this whole idea of “new you” seem to be some crazy marketing scheme aimed solely at you and your mundane life of laundry, school drop-off, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, errand-running and “work”? Or is it just me?
I’m totally conflicted. For the last few months of 2012 there were daily affirmations that I was enough, my life is full, my every effort more than sufficient. So what the heck happened? Who flipped the switch to this message that I need to change, do more, “feel better”? I was doing fine with the idea that every day was a new opportunity to be the best I could be. Now, all of a sudden, we get a new month and year and I’m transported back to the days of self-conscious teenager where how much I weigh is how I’m judged. To being in my 30s and seeing those first laugh lines and needing to take control of getting old. To turning 40 and all the “over the hill” type jokes. January 1st seems more like an apocalypse of how crappy my life really is as compared to the one I was living just one day ago.
To this whole idea that January 1st means the light bulb is switched on and who I am is no longer enough, I laugh. A loud, over-the-top, in-your-face, you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me, do-you-really-think-I-am-that-stupid kind of laugh! I was enough when today began, and tomorrow, next year, I will still be enough. Actually, I’ll be even more than just enough because I will be with people who love me, appreciate me and will choose to communicate, both in person and virtually, with people who help me to see myself as someone who doesn’t need to change for the sake of change.
January 1st, 2013 is yet another day. For some, believe it or not, it’s not even a very significant day. Sure, it marks the transition from 2012 to 2013. But for almost half the world population, it’s nothing but a random designation of time and space. Instead, for many of the most enlightened, they see each day as an opportunity to fine tune their life. Why wait until you’re so far off the path to stop and ask for directions?
Sure, the new year is a good time to reflect and think about changes we want to make. So, too, is any Monday or the 10th of each month or the 18th or every full moon or the beginning of basketball season or change of season. We decide! Not a marketing campaign. We’re not all of a sudden in need of losing weight. We needed to lose a few pounds just as urgently last week as we will need this week, next week or even 3 weeks from now.
Like you, change in my life is a constant. There’s always some way to improve. Probably the first way to improve is to realize that I’m never going to have perfect nails like all those nail polish pics on Pinterest, my craft projects will never look like Martha Stewart’s, my food will never be worthy of being the next food/cooking/chef star, and my life will never be as good as some people if based on social network status updates. But then again, that’s not how we measure our worth.
Yes, tomorrow, January 1st 2013, marks a new year. It is also just another day. It is a Tuesday. And on that Tuesday, just like today, I will be enough. You will be enough. We will still be our smart, witty, kind, generous, over-extended selves. I like myself. I hope you like yourself, too. I don’t need to be new. I want to change and evolve and develop on my own terms.
If anything, the new year should be more of a time to reflect and evaluate rather than set unrealistic goals solely for the sake of setting goals. No other time of year do we jolt ourselves and give a hard yank on the steering wheel of our life. We all know how well that worked for the Titanic, don’t we.
So on this New Year’s Eve, I say to you “Thank YOU”, for reading my blog, for supporting me in this journey, for being kind and generous and thoughtful. I wish you all the best in 2013 and hope that right now you realize how fantastic you really are! That you are enough. That you are amazing. That you are beautiful and wonderful and worthy. January 1st marks a new day. Just as December 31st did. Change is possible every day. But you don’t need to change just because a new day has dawned.