2018 began like most years – full of resolutions and hopes for great things ahead. However, why is it, when we reach the end of each year, and this one in particular, we are thrilled to be rid of it, like an old moth eaten sweater that makes us sad because it was our favorite but now is so much less than it was before the assault? How does something so promising, so shiny bright, and so exciting turn into something so full of negative connotation? Interestingly and unavoidably, life happens yet we are surprised when life becomes so exhausting, so terrifying, and so challenging that we question just what possibly could be next.
As for me, now at the start of a new year, the same hope for the future persists, yet this time, I am different. The challenges of the past year have hardened me, weakened me, and changed me for what I believe (and fear) may be forever. Struggles with my health, regrets around job change, and the realities of age have hit me hard and have infiltrated my psyche. While it was a year full of peak excitement, sad goodbyes, new experiences, and devastating loss, each moment stole a bit of my heart and my confidence. The passing of time and the celebration of each of these events, happy or sad, molded the “me” that I am today. As I embark on new “resolutions”, I acknowledge that the nature of the foci has changed. In the past, at the start of a new year, I focused on what could be defined as superficial: losing weight, developing better habits, keeping a healthy schedule, or reading more. Now, the changed “me” seeks to be happy – that is all – and whatever it will take to be there again, that is my goal. At this moment, I am not sure exactly what will be the ticket to this destination, but I am certain (or at least, hopeful) that the journey will evolve into the joy of regaining myself.
In my life, I believe that everything happens for a reason and, in turn, I question the why of what happens. I want to believe that there is a lesson hidden within each joy and misery, yet why are the lessons so hard to comprehend in the moment? And once the siege has passed, why is it so difficult to remember just how deep the despair was felt? In essence, those experiences fuel our need to return to the baseline of “happy” when we are not, and the drive to sustain “happy” when we are.
So on the first day of this new year, I wish for myself the strength to seek new experiences, discover new opportunities, and embrace the possibilities that will lead to being happy, because in the end, happy is all that truly matters.