New Year’s celebrations have come and gone. The confetti, glitter, and even dirt was cleaned off from inside my apartment, and I no longer yearn to hear the sound of noisemakers and distant fireworks. Of course, with all the excitement and wonder that the new year (and even a fresh start) brings, one cannot ignore the prospect of mustering up a resolution. I have generally stuck to vague ones such as “be a better person” or “eat healthier,” which boils down to “eat less takeout pizza (and remember I’m lactose intolerant).” This year, as I head into the second half of what people call my ‘Jack Bauer year,’ I have decided that my resolutions are going to be different. This time, I would have to be specific about what I would want to change.
Resolutions come from realizations. As I continue to move further away from my college graduation, I think upon the events that have marked last year. I moved as fast as I could and then the world slowed down, I tried to stay busy and found ways to fill my days and nights inside, away from friends and family — trying to find a place where I could keep my head above water. This left me with a lot of time time to grieve or reflect on the presence (or absence) of my emotions. I was under the impression that if I never stopped moving, both forward and on, I would never have to feel. I have resolved that this semester must be different. Moving forward, every day, slowly breaking the cycle of treating myself as if I was battered notebooks — forgetting pieces of myself, leaving some behind.
I can’t pretend that New Year’s resolutions are easy, nor should they be confined to the time limit we give ourselves, leaving our pasts behind on Dec. 31 and moving fresh into Jan. 1. I am unsure if I believe that things can change within the minute that changes 2020 into 2021, but I am sure that resolutions should be a constant decision. This is not to say that it is imperative that everyone creates and follows resolutions because of the new year. This is to say that we should be able to change whenever we decide we are ready for it. Forcing a revelation can lead to disappointment or indifference. We are all work-in-progresses, myself included, and I believe that we should be able to create a resolution whenever we need to. We must be the ones constantly deciding that there is something about ourselves we can and will change.
We should resolve to leave things in the past. We should resolve to stop going back to the ruins of our past failures, searching for the rock thrown that made the whole building fall. We should resolve to let things go, to leave the past where it belongs and to move forward with the strength and optimism we know resides within us. It is imperative that we offer kindness to ourselves as a parting gift from the year that has just past.
True change, however, does not happen overnight. As much as we would like to believe that, real work needs to be done. As we move forward, we must grant ourselves kindness and patience. Committing our resolutions to the seconds of a countdown clock is nearly impossible. We cannot expect to change our learned behavior within the minutes that change the years. I believe that if we are true in our dedication to our resolutions, they are going to take time.
I tend to stay away from clichés, but I feel like my continued foray into the throws of post-grad will continue to change me — there is no way it won’t. I already feel the change. I am saying yes to more opportunities and experiences that would have scared me before. I am trying to be more open with my communication. I am truly trying to be a better person. I know that as I live each day, I will choose to resolve residing emotions, learn to fall in love with the city around me and forgive myself for the things I cannot control.
After all, it’s a new year. That’s got to mean something right?