Here comes the cliché New Years Eve posts; people going on and on about what they’ve accomplished and what adversity they faced, the resolutions for the upcoming year, the meme’s about gym’s being unnecessarily packed, and so on. While some decide to take the highly irritable and offensive stance, I deliberately and thoughtfully take the alternative route.
The word “cliché” is generally used in a negative way, implying that something is overused and predictable, but these posts aren’t just “cliché’s,” they’re traditions. And not just in the United States, but all over the world. And what a beautiful tradition it is! People are rejoicing over the simple fact that they’ve made it through another year, and that a new beginning has come, full of this thing that keeps us all going: hope.
Some of us had the hardest year yet; someone lost a brother to a drunk driving accident, someone found out they had cancer and went through several rounds of chemotherapy with no effect, someone had a miscarriage after trying for years to finally start their family, someone contemplated suicide but just barely managed to put the gun down and breathe, someone filed bankruptcy, someone was raped at a party and survived—you get the point. And then there are those of us on the opposite end of the spectrum; someone decided to seek therapy for the mental illness they’d been battling for years, someone married their best friend, someone finally traveled outside of the country and reveled at the unbelievable radiance of the world, someone graduated college and began a paid internship with an organization they admire, someone finally paid off debt and purchased their first home, someone stuck to their New Years resolution last year and lost over 100 pounds that they had been fighting to lose for the past 5 years, someone came home from deployment and rejoiced in embraces with their family—and again, you get the point.
Isn’t that cause for celebrating? If we knew the things that the person to the left and right of us were rejoining over on this wonderful holiday, don’t you think we’d all want to be rejoicing together, for each other?
The problem is, we get good at masking our pain. Pretend we’re okay on the outside so that people will leave us alone, while on the inside we’re fighting the war that no one sees. It’s “Survival 101,” or is it? And then when we’ve won a battle (not a war) we downplay our accomplishments and the weight of what they signify in our lives because we don’t want to seem overzealous, or make someone else feel badly. Us humans… we’re simple creatures, but we’re so complex.
Whether we’re shattered and broken inside, we’re in the process of putting ourselves back together, or we’ve finally started to feel whole and healthy in all sense of the word, we need to be here for each other. Yeah, I get it, we can’t be here for every single person around us, right? We can, actually, just in different ways. Maybe it’s a hug, a listening ear, a warm smile at someone passing by, an uplifting or encouraging comment on someone’s picture or post, maybe it’s “paying it forward” once per week, maybe it’s deciding to forgive…
I can’t say I haven’t been guilty of being apart of the “here come the New Years posts” people, but I’m human. You’re human. The human condition is literally knowing we’re going to mess up in a multitude of ways, and it’s inevitable.
My challenge to you, to myself, as well, is to be apart of that other crowd. The one that congratulates people on their accomplishments and celebrates both small and big victories, the ones who compliments someone in the gym or helps them figure a machine out, the ones who force themselves to have an open mind and heart, the ones who know that they really know nothing at all. Take a moment and sit in the realities shared with you today, as well as your own realities this past year, and let those thoughts and emotions come and go. The New Year is upon us, will you become a better version of yourself or will you remain the same?