In my twenty-one years, I don’t think I’ve kept a New Year’s resolution for more than a week – and that’s being generous. Last year, at the start of 2014, I promised myself that I would write every single day, even if it were only a few sentences in my journal. By January 3rd, I had already accidentally skipped a day. Did I fail at my resolution? Technically, yes. But my heart and my mind were in the right place: I aimed to stick to a new habit that I believed would help me grow. I was looking forward, as so many of us do in early January, from an excited and determined standpoint.
There’s something to be said about that ambition, that drive that we have at the start of every year. It’s something that so many of us share. And even if only for a day, people around the world are united by the desire to make a change. No matter how small, we look to improve our lives or hearts in some way.
We look at the New Year as a new beginning, a clean slate without anything scribbled on it. The clock striking midnight is our chance to begin afresh. But as we all know, our lives do not cease being problematic or messy according to the calendar. Hardly ever do we find a moment of clarity free from any conflict. Yet we are still able to find a place within our hearts where we can long beyond that. We can still look forward, hopeful for something new.
We cannot change the things that have happened to us. We cannot change where we went or fix the plans we made that went astray. But understanding this can also help us realize that, at any given moment, we are free.
We aren’t just blank slates at the beginning of a new year, when we start a new job, or after moving to a new city. We are blank slates every day. You are not who you were last week, last month, or last year. Time propels us onward, and we are constantly moving forward, whether we want to be propelled or not. Because of this, we have the freedom to reach for where we want to go and who we want to be.
You can’t always imagine what’s around the corner, but don’t let that scare you. It will be probably a mix of beauty and pain, of fear and love. Have faith in yourself and your story. Know that you have grown into exactly who you need to be to handle whatever comes next.
No matter what lies behind you, take comfort in the fact that it doesn’t have to lie ahead of you. Sure, maybe some of our ghosts will reappear down the road. Maybe we’ll find ourselves troubled by tough relationships that still haven’t fully healed. Maybe we’ll see the resurgence of issues within ourselves that we thought were fully resolved.
But we are no longer who we once were when we lived those parts of our pasts. We must continue to promise ourselves that we will tackle it the best we know how and never lose sight of the path ahead.
I’m not sure what I’ll resolve to change this year, if I formally resolve anything. But I know that I’ll be treating the start of the New Year as any other day: a day where I have the opportunity to suspend whatever is plaguing me and choose to look ahead in spite of what I may feel pulls me back.
You know that feeling that you get when you know that you’re on the verge of something new and amazing? When we remember that we are always moving forward in some small way, we can feel that feeling every day.
We have to keep looking ahead, and we have to make the conscious choice to do so every day. Let your heart push you forward. Before you know it, you’re moving faster and further than you ever imagined.