New Year’s Eve has always been one of my favorite holidays, and this was even before it became the night I had an epic first-kiss with my now-husband (that’s right, “When Harry Met Sally” fans, eat your hearts out). I think the idea of saying goodbye to the past and making way for a bright, shiny future filled with endless possibilities holds a certain appeal for many people. It certainly did for this OCD Virgo. What better way to “erase” failures and mistakes of the previous year than by getting a blank slate to start everything anew? Midnight on January 1st is like a cleansing bath that erases all of our sins and makes way for new opportunities. It’s exciting.
This “making way for the new me” became my ritual. Every year on December 31, I’d sit down with a blank piece of paper and map out all my plans for the upcoming year that would guarantee a “new and improved” me in 365 days time. These “Goals Lists” (never “Resolutions”, people… please), became elaborate guides of everything I would hope to accomplish. I also made sure to encompass all aspects of my life. If I didn’t have a worthy “personal goal” to match my lofty “Body,” “Mind,” “Spirit,” “Relationship,” and “Career” goals, I’d create one. Which is how “learn to play guitar” or “learn to make jewelry” ended up on my list for, oh… I don’t know… the last decade. And every time I’d write those, I’d think to myself: yeah, maybe this will be the year I make my own funky earrings. But deep down I knew I wouldn’t be making my own statement necklaces or playing “Hey Jude” on guitar anytime soon.
Which is why, after decades of this sacred ritual, I didn’t make a goals list this year.
Hopefully we’ve all taken a minute to absorb this shock. And let me be clear: This doesn’t mean I don’t have specific things I want to accomplish this year. I do. Lots of them. I’ll probably list them on this site at some point (you can take the lists away from the girl, but you can’t take the girl away from the lists, apparently). But, here’s the thing about the “new year, new you” philosophy: it’s bullshit. Time is completely arbitrary. I was the same person at 11.59pm on December 31st as I was at 12.00am January 1st. Because here is a very important lesson I learned in 2016: time doesn’t change people, events do. Time is a tool to grow, evolve, heal, etc. But it’s not a catalyst for change. The only way people change is if they put in the work. Strike that, when they decide to put in the work. And that can happen any day— January 1st just happens to be a day many people choose because they’re more aware of the passage of time that day.
So, make your resolutions, or goals, or whatever you want to call them. But also, make your mistakes and stumble, and don’t get down on yourself if you don’t accomplish everything you set out to do by January 1, 2018. All we can do is try, and if we fail, all we can do is wake up the next day and try again. As long as you keep doing that, it doesn’t matter what the date says.