New Year, Now You
In a culture anxiously obsessed with improvement, it makes sense that the new year be yet another excuse to aim for better versions of ourselves. As we anxiously await the release of the iPhone 27, that little Siri inside our heads lists all the ways we could be better. So we schedule our upgrades for January 1st each year and resolve to be different.
In reality, the only true difference between December 31 and January 1 is one calendar day. So why are we so obsessed with the potential difference that this specific day makes? Why do we designate this tomorrow as the perfect time to change, to be different than who we are today?
I am a real fan of ritual. My favorite way to spend NYE is to get together with loved ones and debrief on the past year. I like to share both highlights and lowlights, to honor the rich complexity of the time that has elapsed. And typically I like to come up with words that embody the energy I’d like to carry into the next year. In past years my words have been self-expression, creativity, voice, and authenticity. But I like to give myself the gift of not needing to be so brand spanking new. Because I have personally found it to be far more liberating to focus on liking (and dare I say loving?!) my current self—a challenging enough task, if you ask me.
The you on December 31st is just as worthy of love as the you with a bunch of resolve to change on January 1st. All those things you want to accomplish in the new year wouldn’t equate to a new you, anyway. You’d be the same you only thinner, or the same you plus a companion, or the same you on an exotic island (though this last one does sound spectacular). New Year’s resolutions never really involve changing who you are. They involve changing all that stuff outside of you. It’s called circumstance.
So change your circumstances if you’d like. Say “yes” to something new, or “that’s not what I want” to something old. But don’t change you. Allow the new year to reaffirm who you already are. Because everyday, new year or not, we change. And this new you each day isn’t the result of any forced resolution but rather the result of life. As Buddha said, “every morning we are born again.” There is, in truth, an abundance of new yous. It happens every day. So yes, let this new year offer you new days, new opportunities to be present to your life as it unfolds. But honor the new year by honoring yourself as you are right now. Look at yourself in the mirror today and choose to love what you see, for tomorrow it will be different. In a year, you will realize that it’s been another year and perhaps you will consider another personal reinvention. Don’t let the next 365 days blur together, only to reach another New Year’s Eve spent planning a new you. It happens whether you plan for it or not. For every day you are new. And every day you are whole.
January 1st, August 12th, and so on.
I wish you all peace in the present. Happy now, you!