Well, it’s the end of a year. Or the start of a new one, depending on what timezone you’re in and when you read this.
I’ve never been a big fan of New Year celebrations. They often seem out of sync with how we spent our year, and how we’ll most likely be spending the next. It feels a bit deceitful.
I have, however, always been a big fan of another New Year tradition. I love New Year’s resolutions. I love looking back over the past year, acknowledging the people, events, and changes that shaped it, and then looking towards the future filled with hopes and plans and the knowledge that life will surprise me.
As I glance back over 2015, it feels like the year flew by. It began at one of the lowest points in my journey with chronic illness. I had to move back in with my parents, housebound, with no diagnosis, and my health was spiralling completely out of control.
Since then I’ve been diagnosed. I’ve moved to a new city. I’ve had two neurosurgeries. And, perhaps most importantly, I’ve gotten a puppy.
I’ve also experienced the kind of love and support that is usually reserved for movies. So many incredible people have touched my life this past year, showing me humanity at its finest.
2015 brought me uncertainty, fear and immense, awe inspiring, beauty.
I’m sitting here now with an hour left of the year, signed up for a university course, scheduled for a voice lesson – something that I didn’t believe was possible 3 months ago, let alone a year, and trying to come up with a set of New Years Resolutions.
Resolutions are a bit of a laughing stock, because they’re so rarely followed. It feels embarrassing at the best of times to make them, knowing that they’ll probably be forgotten in a week or two. And right now, it feels impossible to create a list in the first place, because so much of my ability is up in the air as I recover from my latest surgery- I have no idea what a reasonable commitment or goal is for myself, and I won’t know for months.
But I want to make them. Not just because I happen to love lists, although that probably is a strong motivating factor, but because they help provide some clarity. They give me a roadmap, tracing out what matters to me.
I may not follow them specifically, but they will stay at the back of my mind, fully formed for when I’m facing a decision.
In a way, I guess they’re my brand of a New Year’s celebration – a bit deceitful, but enjoyable and valuable.
There seems to be a lot of pressure on New Years Eve – pressure to be doing something special as the clock counts down. A kiss at midnight, a party, champagne – we want to ride off into the sunset of the previous year, and start the new one off on a high.
I’ve always seen that as wishful thinking, trying to start off the year in a style that won’t be kept up.
But maybe it’s more than wishful. After all, you’re making a conscious decision on how to spend your night. You’re choosing how you want to start off the new year, even if it’s a departure from what’s normal. Especially if it’s a departure for what’s normal.
Maybe New Year’s doesn’t have to be about a big statement. Maybe it never has been.
Maybe it’s about the tiny choices – where you spend your evening, who you spend it with, and what goals you make for the next year.
Maybe it’s a big day for a little definition.
This year is a big blank slate for me, overwhelming in its possibility.
But maybe I’m trying too hard on my resolutions. Maybe I don’t have to come up with a list of concrete goals.
Maybe that’s my problem. The problem that I want to work on.
I think that will be my New Year’s Resolution. To embrace the little things, to acknowledge their importance. To accept that every small choice, every small step has an impact. That the silly things can matter, and the big things might not.
I doubt I’ll keep to it faithfully. But, then again, that’s not really the point.
I can’t wait to experience all the little things that will shape 2016.
Happy New Year!