Making the very most of the new year
Today is the final day of a year that many of us wish to leave behind.
The final day of a monotonous and unending series of days that gave us more moments of both silence and devastation, loneliness and sorrow, upheaval and stillness.
At the beginning, it felt like a string of Sunday afternoons. Easy and mellow; long walks and mid-day movies. More family time and less time at the office.
But then, soon after what seemed like a dozen consecutive Sundays, reality settled in like the bad news it was. This year would not go as planned for you or me or your neighbors or friends.
It was here that hope wavered like a bad pun at the dinner table and turmoil took over. Our resting state became defined by unrest, and achieving peace seemed to take scaling a taller mountain each day.
Seeing loved ones, visiting parents and grandparents, going back to school or work — “a bunch of wishful thinking,” a friend of mine called it.
This was 2020.
Thank goodness tomorrow is 2021.
Nonetheless, there is something quietly beautiful about today.
Something subtle, a touch of poignancy to provide a silver lining when we reflect on the year we are about to depart from. Today marks the final X of the calendar year, the X that gives us hope for a new leaf, a desire and a reason to turn the page on what once was to find out what could be.
New year’s eve, traditionally, inspires people to be better than they once were. To move towards something better — more responsibility, more accountability, more love and gratitude. If the tragedies and isolation of 2020 tell us anything, it is that we have more reason than ever to aim upwards in 2021.
The challenges each of us endured have pushed us to the brink: today, more so than any new year’s eve prior, we have a springboard toward something better. And it’s one that we won’t have to convince or trick ourselves to get on board with. Playing tyrant to ourselves with discipline only lasts for so long.
In 2021 — that is to say, tomorrow — most of us will realize that we actually want to make things better. Not merely for the new year, but for the sake of moving towards something positive, good and productive.
And this is key: knowing you want to be better is a lot different than pretending to be better simply because it’s that time of year again.
Whether we intended to or not, in 2020 most of us have witnessed just how bad things can get when entropy takes over. “When it rains it pours” is no longer poetry; it now has a concrete meaning for each and every one of us.
Today, new year’s eve, marks a moment for a renewed, collective effort toward something better. It still isn’t precise what this means. It doesn’t tell us exactly where we may be going.
But moving upwards is as good a direction as any. It means we aren’t moving down.
And after a year like this, I’m all for it.
Happy new year. Think about how much you’ve endured on accident, and let it remind you how much further you can go on purpose. Take stock. Lock in. Remember how tough you really are.
Here’s to something better. Here’s to moving up.
This article was originally published here on December 31, 2020.