It’s a new year. We earthbound folk have circled the sun again.
I suspect we humans are creatures of habit regardless of our desire for spontaneity. We want structure though we often shun it. A game of cat and mouse ensues as we build routine and simultaneously evade it.
It is thought the practice of celebrating the new year (in a fashion similar to present day) and birthing resolutions began some 4, 000 years ago with the Babylonians. These folks made promises and affirmations during a massive religious festival that occurred in March when the crops were planted.
Later, after Julius Caesar had made some calendrical adjustments and established January 1st as the beginning of the new year, the Romans also made promises for improved behaviour in the year ahead. They also performed sacrifices.
Nowadays, humanity uses this time of year to cast away all of our sins and misdoings of the previous solar circling. As if saying, I won’t do that this year or I’m going to be better going forward suddenly eliminates all that was done before; why do we look at the past with such disdane?
When did our mistakes lose the ability to teach?
Another New New Year
It seems people were especially excited by the most recent turning of the calendar page, the coming of a new decade. Perhaps, the novelty of revisiting the twenties had folks rearing to ring in the new year.
New Year’s Eve is not something I have ever been particularly enamoured with or celebrated. And not even for any particular reason. Call me a curmudgeon but it drove me nuts when the folks in our old neighbourhood would (very) noisly parade down the street at midnight, banging cymbals and hollering.
Friends joke that my spirit animal is a grumpy elderly person (not to promote ageist stereotypes, but I do like a quiet night in and a good book).
While I write in a day planner and employ the small squares of a calendar, I’ve just never understood the hoopla surrounding the festivites of NYE.
But then again, I feel that way about most holidays. I know, I sound awful. But I wish people showed each other kindness and love on the regular. Not just on specified, commercialized days.
Did I celebrate last/this year? Yes. I went to see my parents with my son. There we had dinner with them, my brother and (most of) his family, my aunt and my nana. We laughed, played board games and ate our fill. And few moments before midnight we called my husband (who had been at work), before counting down those last ten seconds of the decade/year together. Then my mom and son went out to the porch and banged pots.
Which only lasted a hot minute. He is my kid afterall and was worried he would bother someone with the noise. But out he went and clang he did.
Was it lovely? Yes. It was incredibly lovely. It had been years since I spent a new year’s eve with my family. But it wasn’t that unlike any other time we gather together.
Same laughs, same games, same indulgences.
Part of living is growing. Part of growing is learning. And with all of it (most times) comes realization. Or so one hopes.
My 2019 had some really great moments.
Like taking my kiddo to Florida and Disney World all by myself.
It had some really shit ones too.
Like removing myself from the work outside the home (even though it would put a financial strain on our family and dump a shit ton of worry on me), when I realized that my anxiety was just too much for me to tackle “out there.” And then realizing just how fucking much of it there is to tackle. GULP.
The day I penned the notes for this section I was distracted, riddled with guilt. I felt I should be doing more than what I was doing. More than this.
My day had already been pretty full. Full of fun, full of diabetes, full of mental health struggles. And now it was to be an evening full of guilt.
I’m not sure where that guilt comes from – is it my role as a wife, a mother? A woman? Maybe it stems from my mental illnesses. And diabetes. There’s a lot of guilt in all of it. Sometimes it’s just a lot of fucking guilt…
Guilt about time missed…dealing with a brain that doesn’t work “normally” and a body that doesn’t function “properly” can rob one of a lot of time. Time to get things done, time to spend with others.
Guilt about feeling like shit…and the results of that, like feeling disinterested and then removing myself from whatever is currently happening. Or about to happen.
Guilt about all the things I didn’t do…because it never feels like it’s enough, there is only feelings of coulda, shoulda done more.
Guilt about all the things I did…like take time for myself (calling it self care doesn’t eliminate the guilt) or when I have a gone day, and I’m unreachable because I’ve dipped a little too far in to the grey zone making the mom-gig and homeschooling nearly impossible.
Guilt about how I’m managing all my chronic illnesses…the guilt that accompanies my recent inexplicable weight gain is massive, not only has it made me question my worth but it makes me feel guilty every single time I dare to indulge just a little. Or the guilt that accompanies a day of bad blood sugars, leaving me exhausted. Or the guilt that accompanies a day overflowing with anxiety attacks that renders me incapabable of anything.
Then suddenly that guilt shifts and I’m consumed by fear. So much fucking fear.
Fear I won’t get it all done. Fear it won’t be enough, if it’s even anything at all. Fear I can’t possibly do all things, some of the things, any of the things…
Very seldom does my Type 1 Diabetes make me feel guilty. Or fearful. But my mental illnesses make me feel very guilty. And fearful. Most of the time. I feel awful and guilty that my version of normal isn’t entirely normal.
And I’ve said it before, if I could pick happy I would…
365 Days vs A Lifetime
I don’t understand New Year’s resolutions. Those firm decisions to do or not do something really don’t get many folks far; in fact, over 90% of resolutions made end in failure.
But maybe that’s the draw. Maybe folks make them because there’s no real commitment.
We are so adverse to the obligation that there is even something called Quitters Day. Apparently the second Friday of January is the last day anyone can muster motivation. And absent of motivation, those resolutions fizzle out. Quickly.
Perhaps, those failures exist because we can count on them. Because they are part of a routine we have created for ourselves. A year around the sun, some promises made, few promises kept. Another around the sun, more promises made, few promises kept.
Forgive me, but I think this whole resolution game is broken. And I think it stems from this notion that we have a time limit for improvement. A year is a lifetime for some but shouldn’t be our only measure of life.
Our lives are these complex and organic things. And sometimes it can feel much bigger than us. But the point here is that it is fluid. And unbound. So why bind it?
Be a goal getter. Have ambition, put forth effort. Aim for that desired result. And take in all the good, all the bad and all the ALL that occurs in between.
The amount of time that passes versus how it feels is a tricky road to navigate, but the journey is yours for as long as it is until it isn’t. Where we have been is what drives where we are going. And losing sight of the destination, while entirely possible and even expected, is actually where we learn. Where we gain our strengths. And where we discover our resilience.