Pensive does not begin to approach adequately describing the level of introspection I feel like I've experienced the past few weeks. As I was explaining yesterday, I feel the rhythm of the calendar leads me to spending more time in a reflective state with a birthday in November—the ending of a year of existence—that dovetails into the introspection that typically accompanies the ending of another calendar year. This year proved no different.
This was a year for me of seismic shifts. No, I'm not talking about some large earthquake, but rather the bedrock of my life shifting along some crucial fault lines that have led to some notable changes—exhibit a is the URL and title of this blog. I refer to it as shifts because sure there has been a lot of growth, but to call it growth would belie the growing amount and types of questions that have also bubbled to the surface throughout the year.
Which brings me to this new year to come—ironic for a first post, I know. What is our obsession with the new year? What is this annual phenomenon in which so many of us participate, and willingly? You're probably asking right now to what I'm referring specifically.
What I'm referring to is this routine self-flagellation we so often call resolution making. Huh? This may seem a little extreme, but what is my resolution to go to the gym next year and slim down but an indictment against the me of today? What does this say about the me of yesterday, last month, or last year? It in the most generous of terms suggests that I believe I am not enough.
I'm not vilifying all resolution setting, please don't attribute that to me, at least not yet! Just give me a second.
I wholeheartedly believe in making healthy changes, but what about making them on October 22 or June 13? Why do we keep buying into this systemic oppression, warranting the influx of millions of dollars in ad dollars that only tell us we are too fat, too unattractive, too much this, too little that? Why are we such willing participants in the violence we commit against our bodies and our living selves?
Friend, I'm calling out myself in all this. If it hits a little close to home for you or—hopefully—rings true, it is because we are together in the struggle. Too many Januaries past I have been the perpetrator of sad and terrible atrocities against my self, body and soul. And I am tired. Every year leaves me emptier, frustrated when I inevitably fail as I can only show hatred and loathing toward myself so much and for so long. I don't want to perpetuate this cycle any longer.
It stops here; a new cycle starts today, with us. Who are you today? What about yourself do you love? How can you today begin to perpetuate and encourage that?
I was asking myself the other day, "Is friendship enough? Is loving well, being a friend enough for this life?" and I can answer no other way than, "Yes!" Surely, it must be. However, this starts with the way that I love myself—my self—and how I nurture my one self. That does not have to start tomorrow. Hell, it doesn't even have to start today. But what better day is there?
Go ahead and make your resolutions, but be gentle with yourself. Make resolutions to laugh more, take the longer road, savor a bit longer, or be more active. Allow yourself the space to forget, to regress. Time is too precious, life too short, to waste it on committing violence against ourselves.
While we're here, I've noticed my own tendency to look forward to next year so many New Year's Eves past as being inherently better than the year that preceded it. It's so tempting. Next year can't possibly get any worse than this. A year later, I have found myself saying the same thing.
Or what about the desire to wax nostalgic around the holidays? Guilty. I love remembering the "good old times." That was until I got back into therapy. I then realized while there were some good memories, there were a lot of shitty ones that tainted the scene. In other words, there wasn't ever a time that was inherently better than today.
Which brings me to the end of this pseudo-rant—well, what I feel is a pseudo-rant—which is what about today? What about right now? This moment. Oh, now it's gone. But this moment. What is so inherently bad with right now that I often feel the need, and have witnessed so many friends and family members do the same, to wish it away in conjuring an idealized past or future?
Yes, there is chaos and the great unknown of the present moment. However, in the future there will only be more change to come—thank you, Second Law of Thermodynamics!—and the past is only as good as we choose to remember it. There is nothing wrong with the present, much less is there anything wrong with the you that now inhabits it. So happy New Year! I wish y'all the best!