The New Year is upon me. I don’t know what it is about us humans that we place such significance in these milestones. A New Year’s Resolution! Some magical threshold is crossed and now, because I put a 2012 on my checks instead of a 2011, suddenly I have a previously unrealized capability to complete retool my life.
This year I’ll drink less, work out more, be nicer, give more to charity, blah blah blah. No, you probably won’t. Not really. Oh, sure, for a couple of weeks you’ll burn with that 2012 fervor, emotionally effervescing with a frothy intensity of determination to improve yourself from the train-wreck that somehow managed to limp cross the finish line of the last year.
‘Cept dat, lo and behold, you are really just the same ol’ joe you were three weeks ago. Still facing the same problems, still fighting against the same intertia that makes it so much easier to watch The Biggest Loser than it does to hurl yourself off the couch and into the gym to actually make your own progress. Still spending too much, saving too little, saying the wrong things to the wrong people. Still burdened by the same fears, hesitations, reluctances.
So what’s different? What makes us think that we suddenly have some new superpower which will help us overcome all the same struggles that kicked our butt for the better part of the entirety of 2011?
Maybe we have to. Maybe we just need a hope, however tenous, that things can’t help but get better. We find great appeal in the idea of a clean slate, a fresh start. We put our collection of mistakes, troubles, and burdens just a little bit farther behind us, looking towards some new horizon, some new undiscovered country where success is just a little bit easier to achieve, obstacles just a little bit smaller.
Maybe part of this struggle, this new victory, is learning to be a little more accepting of who we are. It’s not admitting defeat to show a little wisdom in giving up unrealistic expectations, in choosing to shut out some of the voices hammering at us that we can’t, that we aren’t, that we’ll never be x, y or z.
Maybe the best goal for 2012 is to spend a little more time appreciating what wondrous creations we are. Instead of spending so much time and emotional energy in trying to be what we think we SHOULD be, we spend a little bit more time enjoying who we ARE. Maybe, just maybe, the goal is not to transform myself into something else, something different, but rather, to be who I already am. To find a place where I can forget about all the messages of can’t, didn’t, and aren’t, and instead focus on just refining that which is already there.
Yes, I suppose there is a fine line between accepting who we are and making excuses for what we’ve let ourselves become. I’m just thinking that victory may be found in the little things. I don’t have to publish a novel, but maybe I just write because it makes ME happy; regardless of whether anyone else ever reads it. Or pays money for it. If I allow myself the luxury of being satisfied with who I am, won’t this contentment show in what I write? In the quality of the things I do, or the character I evince to those around me?
So. I’m thinking my one and only resolution for 2012 is to find a different, better definition of victory. And then live in that victory every day.