First, Happy New Year! How many times have you heard New Year…New You? That phrase has always bothered me some. I wanted to write about it, but thought…nah – it’s just my overthinking of it. Then I talked with a few friends over the last week about my dislike for the phrase and they surprisingly agreed. I am guessing some will say, come on Kath, it’s just a slogan or a marketing tool; and I get that. But, to say “New Year, New You” takes us down a path that denotes the “old you” is no longer valuable. We usually seek a new thing when the old thing no longer serves us, is broken or is not in fashion anymore.
May I say here and now…the “old you” is PERFECT. You are a beautiful, original, wonderful, valuable masterpiece. Now, even a masterpiece needs a bit of TLC now and again. Some restoration or sprucing up may be in order, but you never hear anyone say, “oh that old Monet or van Gogh….yeah, it’s been here a while, sort of bored with it….we need a new one.” NO, what you hear is that it is priceless and worth preserving, caring for and treasuring…so are you!
We are all a work in progress. We all have 24 hours in a day to make choices and decisions about how that day, or a moment within that day, will proceed. Instead of putting a line in the sand about a start date, or a done date…why not just be. Look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself (out loud) you are priceless, precious and valuable. You will feel ridiculous doing it, but it matters that you hear your own voice saying those words. [I have to remind myself quite often and say it out loud when I start to forget and slip a bit.]
When we start from a position of appreciation for the life we have, the air in our lungs, the body God gave us and the opportunity before us, the environment shifts a bit. What an awesome mindset. Then, acknowledge you may want a bit of sprucing up and decide for you what that means. Is it changing some life habits? Is it improving your health? Is it taking time to expand your mind? Is it adding more compassion and patience to your life? Is it simply wanting to be a better human? Notice, I did not add to this list…fitting into a size 8 by Valentine’s day. I did not add, going to the gym 3 hours a day or telling yourself you are going to do X by Y date. Health, well-being and well-living is a lifetime endeavor, and the inside should be the priority….the outside will come along. It took me a very long time to learn that. As trite as it may sound, it really is the journey that is the most exciting and fulfilling…not the destination. The pressure of doing X by Y date makes it about the end …not the doing, being and living. If we falter even a bit, we start a cycle feeling bad, giving up, dismissing the relevance of the journey or going in the opposite direction.
All journeys will have moments of turbulence and other times where there is smooth sailing but it’s all part of it. The New Year can be a marker yes, but for me, it should not be a deadline. When you take the pressure off yourself you can move forward with calm determination simply to do better. Some days that means reading a chapter in a book you want to get to; it could mean walking a mile and then a few days later, walking two. It could mean cooking in tonight and making a pitcher of yummy fruit water. It could mean looking at that bag of cookies and having two instead of five; or getting out of bed and simply getting dressed and doing your hair. It could mean writing that letter to someone you’ve hurt acknowledging that hurt and offering an apology, even if you don’t send it…yet. Or writing to the person who hurt you and offering forgiveness….It could also mean saying a prayer and asking for help.
We are complex, flawed, fabulous, obnoxious, smart, funny, rude, sad, happy, kind, sometime angry and uncertain beings. We are not our size or our status. We are not our jobs or our circumstance, nor are we our bank account or car we drive; and we are certainly not our followers or our social media ranking.
We are freakin’ marvels in the universe!
We have depth and soul, wisdom and heart. We have gifts and talents and can “be” and “do” and impact and serve. We can love and comfort and share space. We can be strong and courageous and scared and vulnerable. We can be a light for someone who sees only dark and we can humbly ask for and accept the light of another and be part of a world that sees and shares the value we each bring.
Yeah, the New Year is great, and we should celebrate the milestone with a toast of really good champagne….but I don’t want a new you…I’d like to keep and celebrate the old you if that’s ok.
I wish you today, as in all days, a good day!