New Year, Same Me

I don’t like New Years.

This isn’t because I hate parties, though, if asked to choose between a solitary activity and a party I’d probably choose the former about 85% of the time. No, it’s because I’m not a fan of the idea that you have to wait a year, for a magical day, to change anything about yourself. If that’s your thing, then you do you, but it’s not for me.

1. This opens up the next year for a lot of feelings of failure. You didn’t lose weight? Failed. You didn’t stop drinking? Failed. It’s this barrage of mental “you suck”s and then you have this expectation that the reset button is January 1st. Which for some, is 11 months away.

2. This leaves the idea that growth, learning, and success don’t also require mistakes.

3. It causes people to give up during a process that takes time, second (and third, fourth, 5th and so on…) chances, and a lot of getting back up and trying again with the same faith in yourself that you started with.

So, yep, I absolutely hate New Years. To me, these things should be tossed on their head and it should be done differently. For me, NYE is just another night. NYD is just another day. In fact, we spent today hanging out just like any other. I didn’t clean, I didn’t write resolutions, I didn’t pledge my year to health, or a skill.

I did buy some new instruments because going forward I would like to do more music related things. This thought isn’t stuck in the new year, it was with the new day. A new year’s resolution is like mud on your shoe. It starts fresh and thick and as you walk it rubs off in the grass, then eventually you forget it. But a new day’s thought, one that is less tied to time and more tied to you, is like a pet that walks with you and keeps you company wherever you go.

I want my goals to stay, not fade away as the year goes on. So I take every new day as a new chance. A new chance to drink more water than I did yesterday. A new chance to exercise. A new chance to clean, work on a skill, or change a part of me that needs work. But if I fail, I don’t think “time to quit until next year”, I just think: the next second, minute, hour, or day, are perfectly new and fresh opportunities.

No one is transformed when the clock strikes midnight. No one becomes someone new. The phrase “new year, new me” ignores the person you are. It ignores the good things about you. It ignores the process of improving, and the cycle of failure that naturally comes with it. Every day is a new chance to grow. Take the mistakes and embrace them, but don’t let them stop you from trying. Don’t forget the person you are, and embrace it. You don’t throw you away, you just add on better things. Don’t wait to make positive change, just make a new choice in the next second, not the next year.

There’s a lot of superstition surrounding new years: don’t go into the new year with anything you don’t want or you’ll have it the whole year. Well, breathe easy, because it doesn’t matter. Chronic illness teaches a lot of people that. The day changes constantly for spoonies. One minute can be wonderful and the next can be agonizing. If I quit every second I couldn’t breathe, or I was in pain, or felt nauseous, I’d never do anything.

My successes grew from a lot of moments spent on the floor. A lot of mental and physical illness moments. A lot of failures. I’ve had days that were going great, workouts happened, meals were cooked, the house was cleaned, and then the very next day it was destroyed. Those 2nd days sometimes involve me gasping for air, or wanting to jump out of my body because of some constant nagging pain, or struggling to do anything at all.

Sometimes, those 2nd days came after a doctor’s visit that destroyed my hopes. A visit that felt like my symptoms were so horrible, that I was struggling so hard, but that the doctors weren’t listening. Some visits involved waiting for tests to come back, and finding out still there were no answers.

One year, there were answers. After so many months of struggling, of tears, of shattered hopes, I finally found a doctor who listened, who believed me. I always think back to that any time I try something. I remember all the timed I failed or the situation failed me, and I think about how many times I tried again before finally getting some success. Every time we fall, we shouldn’t wait for a special day to make our lives better. We should get up, and push forward. At least that’s what I think, and I try to lead by example.