I’ll admit it- in the past, I’ve been known to laugh at people who make New Year’s resolutions. It’s not that I’m overly cynical about people’s hopes and dreams and goals, it’s that I always thought it was silly to make what might be an unattainable goal, just because one year is ending and another is beginning. Why do you need a new year to make something happen? What’s so special about the changing of ONE number on a calendar that would suddenly make you change your entire life’s routine? No one is forcing you to do this but you, and let’s face it- motivation to keep a resolution, no matter how fabulous it is, is hard to come by at times.
The past year has been a mixed bag for me. As many wonderful things that have happened, there have also been a lot of horrible things that have made me doubt myself and the path I’m on. I’ve made a lot of mistakes; I’ve done stupid and immature things; I’ve hurt people that didn’t deserve to be hurt, and I’ve gone against things that I swore I never would. For a long time, I beat myself up over it, but I also learned from those ugly experiences. I now know that I am merely human, and we all make mistakes (of course I’ve known this for a long time, but have had trouble applying it to myself when I mess up)- but it’s tough to watch yourself falter, fail, and flounder. The 3 F’s of doom. Even if the majority of your year was amazing, it’s always the few negative things that take hold of your brain and cast a dark cloud over your head and by New Year’s Eve, you’re yelling “GOOD RIDDANCE!” at the top of your lungs.
January 1st is just another day, but for some reason it feels different. It feels like we’re closing the door on one part of our life, and opening a new door to the next. All the frustration, resentment, annoyance, sadness, mistakes, and failures build to a peak and when the ball drops on December 31st and the clock changes to 12:00, we finally feel like we can let all of it go, and the door to that year slams shut. It’s symbolic, and can be very powerful- but I think it sets us up for a bit of disappointment and possible disaster. That door might have been closed, but it wasn’t locked, and the negativity can come pouring under the cracks like little kid fingers under a bathroom door when you’re just trying to poop in peace.
If we just think the changing of year alone is going to suddenly stop all the things we disliked about the previous, we’ve got another thing coming.
I know, I’m rambling, so let me just get to the point here: if we don’t face the shit that caused us to be THRILLED that the year is ending, those things will only come back to haunt us. A date is nothing more than a date, and at the risk of being horribly cheesy- change comes from within.
This year, I want to start a new tradition. It’s not a resolution… I’m actually not sure WHAT to call it- and it’s less fun than those who swear in the new year that they’ll go to the gym every day- but I feel like it needs to be done. This new year WILL be a NEW year, and it’s because I finally looked my mistakes right in their eyes… and lit those bitches on fire. Literally!
There’s a saying I’ve heard that really applies- “I don’t believe in burning bridges, but sometimes you have to in order to keep the crazies from following you!”
Obviously, that usually refers to people, but it still works!
This year, I decided to write down the mistakes I made- the things making me glad that this year is coming to an end- no matter how embarrassing or hard to admit- put them all in a bowl, and then burn them. I have to tell you- it was incredibly liberating to watch all the negativity that had built up over the past year get reduced to ashes.
I know that at the end of the day, buring some pieces of paper won’t actually stop me from making mistakes again- I AM human after all- but I’ll always remember the experience of watching them burn away. Gone. I’ll remember and I’ll think- I CAN’T do that again. It’s in the past. I learned from it, I burned it, and it’s over. That’s pretty awesome if you ask me!
Give it a shot- what have you got to lose other than a few scraps of paper and some negativity? Make the new year a NEW year.
I can finally say goodbye to this year, and hello to a truly new one; one that I KNOW is going to be better than the last- because if NOTHING else, I learned from it. THAT is a truly new year.
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