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New Year, Same You

My Awareness of the Role I Play

We all know we’re going to see it everywhere, as if it’s some sort of super power phrase sword to wield around and attack our resolutions. That just saying it for 2021 will mean something more than it did with 2020, or 2019, or 1999. Yet it comes around each year in a migratory fashion, looking down from atop the tree, squawking at us in mockery, and reminding us of our inevitable cycles of hope, struggle, failure and regret. As if the phrase ‘A New Year, A New You’ christens a new level of disappointment. For a society drenched in fear of change, we sure have an ironic obsession with newness.

Truth is, time in all its illusion, never changes, it just keeps moving forward. A new day of a calendar doesn’t automatically mean I wake up as a new person. I am still the same person I was the day before, the day cannot change me, only I can change me. Why do we wait for New Years to start a new way of approaching our lives, when we have that same opportunity with each and every passing day? Thinking about it as a journey rather than a destination. For example, I don’t want to be happy. Happy is an end destination, opposite of sad, so then I’m either happy or sad, which doesn’t leave much room for the fluidity of life. Instead, my goal is to be happier today than I was yesterday (thank you Tal Ben-Shahar’s best seller, Happier). Eliminating the grand result of achieving a happy state eliminates the grand failure of not achieving it.

In acknowledging the small successes of being happier in the moment, I am able to break down the elements of the present and become more aware of my environment and of myself. I throw away reaction and look through the lens of action, putting on my detective hat, I observe, I question. What role do I play in bringing a happier day to myself and to those around me? Who is the person I want to be in this moment right now? How can I best use my courage and confidence to make things better in my little corner of the world (being more like the cat in my book Thnat)?

My uncle once told me “it’s easy to be sad, it takes effort to be happy.” Even in days when sadness grips tightly on my throat and drags me into the deep darkness, I know there is still a small light inside that must continue to fight, to breathe, to make it one more hour. The waves won’t crash forever, in time they will be calm and I’ll be able to stand once more and continue my journey. There is more benefit that I can give to the world than what it has given me. In this way, there is newness in every day.

May January 1st be a symbol for all the milestones we’ve made and a reminder of what we are able to achieve when we initiate positive changes wherever we go.


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