Looking Forward

By Michelle A. SmithJanuary 22, 2015

There’s something magical about a new year.

We begin with New Year’s Eve. We ring in midnight with celebration and confetti and fireworks. We hug and kiss and make resolutions that this year will be better. This is the year that things will change. This will be a year to put all the others to shame. So we charge into January full-force, with promises to ourselves and to others that things will be different. That we will be different.

But then the fear creeps in—the fear that comes with venturing into new territory. And fear can be a relentless bully – one that loves to knock you down and then kick you while you’re at your lowest. Fear can be paralyzing.

Trying something new is like standing on one side of a fence, while your uncharted territory is on another. How do you get to the other side? Do you try to jump it? Do you try to find a way around? 

The other side of that fence can hold so many things: A once-in-a-lifetime trip. College. Recovery. Your fear only builds as you stare at that fence, at a journey that seems so impossibly difficult. It looks too long to walk around and too high to jump over. 

But the thing is – life is full of those fences. You’ve already conquered so many, which means that every step you’ve taken until now has prepared you for this moment. For that first step. And for the next, and the next, and the next. And what you may not realize is that you’re allowed to enlist help along the way—friends, family, or even a random stranger that’ll hold your hand when the fear becomes paralyzing. It’s not only OK to ask for help—sometimes, it’s necessary.

We treat the New Year like a grand beginning, but what people don’t always tell you is that every day is a new beginning. That each sunrise brings a new opportunity to breathe, to feel the air on your skin, to experience a feeling of love in your heart. Every day is new opportunity for life to surprise you. Because life loves to surprise us with the little things, the small moments that may actually amount to something monumental.

I’m often encouraged to think of one word that I want to define my new year. After hitting rock bottom with my depression in 2012, I decided that year would be dedicated to recovery. For 2013, I wanted a year of discovery. And 2014, well, that was my year of growth. But I want 2015 to be a year of anticipation, of wondering what each day will bring. 

Will each day be full of glitter and rainbows? No. Some days will be hard. Some days may downright break my heart. Some days may bring with them a struggle to get out of bed. Depression’s kind of a jerk that way.

But while my heart has been broken and scarred, it is still beating. Though I sometimes have to remind myself to breathe, there’s still air in my lungs. I’m still alive. And because of that, I will live for the days ahead.

You see, some days will be magical. Some days will be full of so much love that my heart may feel like it will burst. And each day will bring a new opportunity to share that love, to share that magic, to treat the world better than it treated me the day before. Each day has the potential to be worthy of celebration and confetti and fireworks. It can be worthy of the hugs and the kisses and the resolutions. 

We can resolve to love others more. To love ourselves more. To give ourselves some grace on a daily basis.

Working toward our goals and resolutions can be scary. Each step to get to the other side of that fence brings its own form of fear and its own obstacles. But each step also brings us closer to the person we want to become. So I’m not only looking forward to the New Year, but I’m also looking forward to each new sunrise that it brings. 

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Comments (8)

  1. Jessica

    Thank you, this is incredible.

    Reply  |  
  2. Megan

    I’m in tears while reading this in my bed. I needed this so so SO very much tonight.

    Reply  |  
  3. Araya

    Thank you.

    Reply  |  
  4. S

    Thank you for sharing and providing encouragement to press on towards the next sunrise and keep hope 🙂

    Reply  |  
  5. C

    Thank you for this. I really needed it tonight. Your words were beautiful and overwhelmed with hope. Thank you.

    Reply  |  
  6. Diane

    This was so encouraging! Thank you! I’m going to keep on taking those next steps.

    Reply  |  
  7. CLINT


    Reply  |  
  8. Tessa

    It brought me to tears to read this post and realize that there are people who think and feel like I do. It’s wonderful to know there are people who have in common with me the sadness, and the same reasons to live.

    Reply  |  
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