There’s no real magic to New Year’s Day. Your sins are not absolved. Your slate isn’t wiped clean with a blink and a nod. It’s a checkpoint. A marker that tells you “Here. Why not start fresh here? Here is where you take the first steps on the long journey to sorting your shit out.” So do that. Start with one step forward. Set realistic goals for yourself. Be proud when you succeed. Be kind to yourself when you don’t. And most importantly, be honest with yourself. Too often, we fall for the “you’re a miraculous meat-covered skeleton full of pixie dust & you’re perfect just the way you are!!!” school of thought. And maybe this is the year we stop doing that. Because we’re not. We’re capable of great strength and weakness, of inventive genius and foolish folly. We’re just stumbling mammals with clothing and heightened delusions of grandeur trying our best to find where we belong and how we should be spending the finite and unpredictable resources of time & energy we have available.
My goal for the new year: To be a better version of me. Not perfect. Not unassailable. Better. Learn from my mistakes. Take pride in my successes. To care for others, without losing myself in the process. That’s it. What shape that will take? I don’t know. I look back on this year, with regrets over the losses and blown opportunities. Maybe not all is lost. The slim sliver of an optimist in me holds on to the shred that maybe, maybe, some things can be fixed.
But that can’t happen until I’ve repaired myself. My body is a tangled mass of pain and nerve damage. My brain, a constant deluge of self-recrimination and anxiety. My emotions, stunted and guarded. But I know it’ll get better.
So take that if you need it: “I know it’ll get better”.
Maybe not the way or when you planned or hoped but still better than where you are now. At least I hope it does for you. Because I’ll wager that more of us feel lost and alone than don’t, when it comes down to it.
For now, you’re at the checkpoint, & your foot is on the pedal. Where you go after that is up to you, but it’s gonna be a hell of a ride, innit? And with any luck, you’ll end up in a better place – in mind and body – than you were before you got the green light.
You made it this far. Relatively intact and tooling up for another round. And that’s nothing to scoff at. Wear that like a goddamn badge of honour.
I wish you well. I wish you as little pain as possible and as much success as you can handle. I wish you love, given and received, without compromise or fear. Anything else is a placeholder of a life, and you deserve better than that.
Godspeed, you magnificent souls.
Do The Thing.