Living

New Year’s Eve, or a Countdown to More of the Same

I’m going to be embarrassingly honest here. As much as I like to share what I discover and learn with you, a lot of the time, when I write it’s to remind myself of what I already know. Today’s post is a prime example of this. The holidays are almost over, and I’m feeling pretty down about it. I love the time leading up to the festivities, filled with warm decorations, permission to dress in silly sweaters, and a devil-may-care attitude about indulgences. On January 1, a return to reality seems to imply that the fun is over. I can no longer ignore how tight my jeans have gotten.

Izzy demonstrates that while it’s possible to move forward while being tethered to what’s behind you, it’s more challenging.

I haven’t really celebrated New Year’s Eve in several years. Aside from the dangerous drivers on the streets and outlandish prices for underwhelming meals and events, putting any effort into the holiday only seems to apply pressure for the night to mean something. That the next year will be a huge improvement over the last. That I’ll reverse all bad habits. That all my wishes will come true. And I know those ideas are all false ones. So why pander to them with a countdown?

Day-old starts

I do, however, enjoy fresh starts. The problem is that they require motivation and there’s an implication that they’re only successful if there are no steps back. Fresh starts (don’t even get me started on resolutions) also usually involve the requirement to DO something. To take action. I don’t know about you, but this alone can intimidate me into inaction. But there is a way to approach change in a much less painful way, and I’m taking the opportunity to remind myself of that fact here.

I read somewhere about the concept that we are all born with the biological instincts to be healthy, productive beings. Our surroundings (whether that be schools, media, family, jobs, partners, exes, whatever…) are what form us. So here’s the thing. When we are attempting to BE something better than we think we are by DOING something, we may be looking at our aspiration the wrong way. Instead, we may need to FORGET something. To NOT do something. And return to who we were before we were influenced by outside sources.

To me, this concept is a bit of a relief. I mean, how fantastic is it to think that in the new year I’m going to do NOTHING to improve myself? That instead of trying to BECOME something, I just need to LET GO of or RELEASE what doesn’t serve me to return to who I really am.

What I won’t be doing in 2020

For me, this means letting go of incorrect narratives about myself and life in general that I’ve believed over the years that aren’t helpful or even based in reality. It means letting go of the ideas about what comforts me when those very things can cause me discomfort or even pain. That by listening to my instincts and being kind to myself, I will be able to trust myself and feel more in control of my destiny. And as a result, feel happier. I know that this won’t be without effort, either, but it seems like effort worth making. And I know there will be steps backward. But I know that those steps are still a part of the journey.

So that is my wish for you, dear reader. That you release yourselves of the pressures that come with New Year’s. That instead of being wrapped up in thinking there’s a list of things you should be doing, you can listen to your gut about what will make you happy, and then just BE.

Happy New Year.

Robyn Kern is the Tangentier. A long-time writer based in Los Angeles with a degree in screenwriting and an interest in mindfulness, many tangents led her here: a place where people can come to find and share inspiration, dwell in each others' passions, and learn how to surround themselves with what they love on the daily.

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