Happy New Year, kids!
It’s the most optimistic month of the year again! Everybody is trying their darndest to stick to the big plans they’ve made for the next twelve months. As Rose said in the mega-blockbuster/tearjerker drama/Leonardo DiCaprio-worshipping/most excellent movie of all time, Titanic, “January was called the ship of dreams, and it was, it really was.”
(I’m aware she wasn’t REALLY talking about January, but just go with it, okay?)
Now, in theory, I like the idea of the world collectively promising to do better and be better each year (and sometimes, we do and are…a little) but the fact remains most people fall off their game by March. The resolutions they’ve made have already been broken, and they’ve returned to their old habits. We all promise to lose weight, read more, volunteer, etc. By March, we’re sitting on our couches, wolfing down Cheetos and watching marathons of Dance Moms and old episodes of Star Trek: the Next Generation (or maybe that’s just me?).
What happens in between? Somewhere along the way, we get lazy and start procrastinating. Change is an active choice that requires us to give it our attention. We must be aware of our actions at all times, so we can catch ourselves when we’re making bad or old choices, and in that moment, actively make the choice to do what we set out to do. It’s a tired cliche to say, “old habits die hard” (Yippee kiyay, M#$%erf*#$%er!), but it’s true. Old habits are comfortable and safe, easily slipped into like a favorite pair of shoes (and they better NOT be Crocs, y’all).
And like John McClane aka Bruce Willis, we just have to grab ourselves a machine gun (ho ho ho) and get rid of the German Terrorists in our Nakatomi Tower of a mind once and for all.
I apologize for that probably completely overwrought Die Hard metaphor.
What I’m saying is, to truly be resolute in your resolutions, you have to make being resolute an active choice. And who says you always have to wait until January 1st to change your life? You can do it any time you want, people! All you have to do is make the choice and commit to it.
“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button film
I started making active changes before the New Year even hit, laying down plans and working to make sure I was happier and healthier before the start of 2013. This time last year, I was not in a good place; moroseness had settled over me that I could not shake. In all seriousness, it is difficult for me to admit when things are wrong and when I am unhappy, and I can say with all certainty that I was battling something deep within myself I didn’t realize was even there or perhaps simply chose not to acknowledge. One of my best friends called me one day last February and basically gave me a kick in the ass, “You’re going to get up, get out of bed, and come over and watch movies with me. And you’re going to have a good day, because I cannot handle you like this anymore. You’re going to choose to have a good day.” And he was right. He knew I was wallowing and miserable but I didn’t want to acknowledge it to anyone else. Once I acknowledged it to myself and to someone else, I could move on and start choosing to actively fight against it. Not everything since then has been all roses, but now I choose to try to see beyond the problems and keep them in perspective. So far, it is working. I am still learning to have faith and patience, and that too is an act of bravery and choice. That day, that phone call helped me realize I am not powerless to change my life; I always have a choice (it reminds me of the scene from Minority Report where Agatha the precog tells John that he can choose not to kill Leo Crow).
I DO have big plans for myself – some of them a bit more long-term – and I am confident that with hard work, luck, perseverance, and some good ole gumption (which is a wonderfully underused adjective), I will be able to accomplish them. You can choose to truly start LIVING your life any day of the year, not just January 1st, and I hope you have the courage to do so.
I’m excited for some things that are already on the horizion this year and the other new adventures that await me in 2013. Happy New Year. Truly…I wish you a HAPPY, new year.