As we head into 2017, social media feeds (read: where we exist these days) are all filled with promises of a “New Year, New Me”, endless resolutions, and suggestions from blog on blog about how to set the right New Year’s resolutions. When the year changes over –and we all have to replace our “Mischievous Kittens Getting Into Trouble” calendar yet again– it’s easy to want to start afresh. To erase the mistakes we made in 2016 (it was a rough one, wasn’t it?) and to promise ourselves that things are going to be different. That we are going to be a better version of our 2016 selves. That we are going to forget all the hardships of the year behind us and start clean, eat clean, feel clean. I get it, who doesn’t love a fresh start? I’d give my left foot to permanently erase some of the stupid decisions I’ve made, the struggles I faced myself with, the stupid faces I make in photographs. It’s energizing to think we have this opportunity to reset, to make amends, to move forward and forget 2016 in the dust. Let’s set 2016 on fire. Let’s eat right, workout more, be kinder, write that book, make better connections, quit smoking. I will be a Phoenix, rising from the ashes, covered in gold glitter…. “But, wait a minute,” I think to myself (yes, my thoughts look like a newspaper article). “What about all the work I did on myself last year? Does that get burned up too??”.
Last year was hard work. I did more hard work on who I actually am than I have ever done in the past. 2016 was blood, sweat and tears, baby. 2016 was introspection. 2016 was hard work, and I did all that hard work with the promise that a tough 2016 was part of building the foundation for what is to come. How do I leave it behind? How can I promise to be a “new me” if I leave the foundation crumbling in the wake of my new, glittery flight? The work I did in 2016 needs to mean something. So this year, I am bucking the trend of a fresh start. I am saying “no thank you” to the promise of a brand new beginning. I want to continue with the journey that I started in 2016… into eternity. I didn’t do all that hard work so that I could look back and muse at all the accomplishments I made in one year. When I am old and gray I doubt I’ll be sitting back in a rocking chair all day thinking, “But, 2016… that was a great year.” Our stories are not delineated by calendar years, job titles or addresses. It’s one big journey. If we chunk it off into year-long journeys we are robbing ourselves of the beauty of the full journey.
So do I have a resolution? Yes. And no, that doesn’t make me a hypocrite. I’m not saying we should ditch resolutions all together. I’m just saying that our resolutions shouldn’t have to come at the end of a year. We should be making life resolutions all through the year. It’s not 2017’s job to make us better people. It’s our job to do that. Constantly. So, my resolution is the same as it has been for more than a year. BE GENUINE. BE YOU. And no, I don’t have that tattooed on my body in Chinese symbols — I checked.
A great radio professor of mine once said something that will stay with me forever: “The hardest thing to do in radio is to sound like yourself.” It’s so incredibly true. People always used to ask me to do my ‘radio voice’. It was a suggestion that always embarrassed me. The way I spoke on the radio was the way I spoke in real life, right? Right??? It was supposed to sound like me. But, it’s incredibly difficult to sound like yourself when speaking to thousands of invisible people on the other side of a microphone. And, I’ve found, the same is true in life. Sometimes, the hardest person to be in life is exactly. who. you. are. We are innately self-conscious about showing our true selves, about leaving ourselves vulnerable to criticism. We fear that if people don’t like who we really are…. we might have no one else left to be. So that’s the journey for me. Not a new me for the New Year, but a continuation of the vulnerability that comes with working every day to just be exactly who I am. Really and truly me. Sometimes it’s exhausting, but I trudge on. The year has turned over, but I’m still here fighting my way through the thick weeds of being true to my weird, imperfect, goofy, sometimes all-over-the-place self. It’s hard work, and this new 2017 won’t take that away from me.
And, to those who are reading my blogs to follow my crafting journey. Thanks for reading to the end. I shall reward you with a preview of my next quilt project! It’s one that means an awful lot to me, so stay tuned.
Currently listening to: “Whatever You Like” – Anya Marina