Tuesday marked the third day of 2017. I wished a Happy New Year to one of the kids I look after, as it was the first time I had seen him since late December. He immediately told me that it was too late to say that anymore. We were already three days into the year. It wasn’t new anymore. Man, did that put me in my place! Apparently this new year, this new beginning, is already old news though.
I used to make concrete resolutions for the new year—not because I really wanted to, but rather I felt obliged. They were pipe dreams, things I thought I could change overnight. They never stuck. I’m not sure I even wrote them down anywhere. A little over two years ago, I bought myself a memory journal. One of my roommates from college had one, and I’d seen them a few other places as well, so I finally gave in. The journal features a short prompt for each day so you can chronicle your thoughts over the course of five years—everything from your current favorite movie to what your time capsule message to a future generation would say. Of course, the prompt for the first of January was to write your resolutions for the year.
The first year I wrote in the memory journal, I listed a handful of concrete New Year’s resolutions. The following year, feeling slightly defeated as I looked back and realized I hadn’t kept up with a single resolution, I opted for more abstract goals instead. And it worked! I didn’t spend all day, every day thinking about my goals for the year. I didn’t fuss over not doing everything perfectly. My resolutions truly aligned with my beliefs though. Since they were always lingering in the back of my mind somewhere, it was suddenly much easier to keep up with them.
“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” – Anaïs Nin
I was reminded of this truth recently. Everything, from personality to personal history to preconceived notions, influences the way we see the world. A person who had a strong nuclear family and a safe home will view things differently than someone who grew up in foster homes in a dangerous area. Just the same, a man who lives in the mountains or speaks only one language will have a different perspective than a woman from a large city who is fluent in four languages. Viewing things from the perspective of others can seem like the most difficult thing in the world—and sometimes it is.
This year, I hope to see things as they are, and as others see them too. I hope to make good choices. To keep learning. To practice kindness. To be honest—with others, myself, my life. Above all, I hope to continue taking chances.
With all of that in mind, here is to a better year. To new adventures, more memories, and way too much laughter (and cute baby animals). To hope. What is in store for your new year?