*Every year this time you say it: This, you declare, will be the year that everything comes together. This is the year you will find your knight in shining armor, get that new job and/or meet the woman of your most elaborate fantasy.
This is the year you get in shape–no, you mean it, no bullshit this time, REALLY in shape–once and for all. The year that sees you morph into a better or all-new something or another has finally arrived. Every year we say this to ourselves.
There are plenty voices around to fortify our ritual. Newspapers and magazines present their Best of and Year End Lists, singling out the most extraordinary happenings that occurred in the span of a mere 365 days. TV talk show “experts’ advise us on the details of creating our list of New Year goals and how to make that list reality.
And every season we’re somehow convinced that the coming year, in and of itself, absolves us of our sins of the one before. We tell ourselves that at 12:01 am, January 1st, without our lifting a finger, we’re going to be all shiny and new. That’s a lot of to expect of a new and untried wet-behind-the-ears year, and so little heavy lifting to require of oneself.
Which brings me to my lone New Year’s resolution, which isn’t really a resolution at all but a personal prerequisite, and it is this: in the new year, I always want to remember that I am already enough.
Yes. When I do or say the most boneheaded thing ever, in the wake of any potentially debilitating guilt or embarrassment, I resolve to remember that I am more than the circumstance at hand. In the new year, when I cast my vision upon the year before, I will not dwell on the negative, but count all the blessings that came my way. All of us can find something. That we made it to yet another year–when so many did not–is a gift.
As I meet the new and sundry challenges one encounters in earnest pursuit of a life fulfilled, I want to keep in mind that while personal growth is undoubtedly defined by the breath of our life experiences, I am not ON MY WAY to somewhere, someone or some situation that is going to magically make me any more worthy or deserving of everything good and positive than I am right now; I am–we–are already that person.
Which means that none of us has to wait until the stroke of midnight to make some remarkable transformation; we can declare it and BE it right now.
If we keep this simple truth at the forefront of our thoughts, then our wildest dreams will become but a routine element of a new and ever wonderful life.
Steven Ivory, journalist and author of the essay collection Fool In Love (Simon & Schuster), has covered popular culture for magazines, newspapers, radio and TV for more than 30 years. Respond to him via [email protected].