Tis’ that time of year again, holidays and New Year’s celebrations abound. It’s also the time of year many of us see and feel a darkness settling over and into us. We have an idea of what holidays are meant to be, and it’s a hard ideal to live up to.
Holiday parties, gift giving, colorful lights and pop cheerful music assaults us at every turn in public. Underneath the fun and joy of finding something, usually small, that a friend or loved one would really enjoy is a competition or perceived pressure to not make them happy or joyful with a gift but to impress someone.
And maybe you’ve even chosen to exclude yourself from it all.
Then the big day comes with family and friends, to be followed up with a frenzy of sales and returns.
And yet, it’s not over. We follow up knowing we are days away from starting a new cycle, the chance to lose the burdens, challenges and difficulties of the last 365 days and the promise of a new year.
With that, we’re all painfully aware of the “New Year’s Resolution,” that idea that since the calendar resets, we have that chance to remake some part of ourselves; to make ourselves better. It’s so prevalent to be a meme.
How quickly can you break your New Year’s resolution?
Can you even make it through January 2? Will you take any slips as a bump in the road, or a reason to quit?
Let’s start with the easy ones. Losing weight, working out more, watch less TV, or even to contribute more to our communities. It sounds good on paper, we walk around the block once or twice, and then reward our hard work with (insert your favorite calorie ridden vice here) and instantly offset any benefits and more!
And then we give up. Or even worse, spiral down.
Fret not, and do not feel alone. This is nothing new. All of us at times may be surrounded by people, even ones we love, and yet still feel alone. We all at times set goals we can’t or don’t meet for one reason or another.
What is important is to learn from our mistakes, and not to quit. Often, it means making changes in behavior, or the people and environments we surround ourselves with to escape the comfort zone and make a real change.
For me, 2016, was a real mixed bag. I worked my ass off to drop 50 pounds (which I did and am still working on). I also had a project I wanted to get out after 3 years of research and work. I didn’t.
It’s close, and the first phases will be coming very soon.
I’m not happy it’s not out, but I missed that goal in part because I got shiny object syndrome (for something else also coming in 2018), I underestimated the amount of work left, and like it does, sometimes life just gets in the way. And it did in so many ways this past year.
I was sitting at this very desk the other day, and reworking my calendar for 2018. What I needed to deliver, and when. And I seriously thought about shelving a couple of projects I really want to finish, but I was asking myself if it was worth it. Because even once I get these out the door, the job is really just starting. It’s going to mean a lot of work that could be a big benefit not just for myself, but hopefully a lot of others as well. I looked at other work that would be more fun to finish, and frankly, easier to do. I debated putting almost four years of work aside, something I’ve bled into and contemplated the easy path.
I pushed away to reorganize my disaster of an office. To change the shui of the feng, if you will. I had something streaming in the background, and heard them talking about a short story I hadn’t read in years. They were talking about Isaac Asimov’s ‘The Last Question’ (http://multivax.com/last_question.html if you’d like to read it),
I won’t spoil it for you, but it spurred me to write this post. I hope you might find a little something in it yourself.
For everyone looking at the stress and change of 2017, and the uncertainties of 2018, I want to pass on my best wishes for your holidays and a new year. I challenge you to take life’s challenges and learn from them. I ask you not only not to quit, but don’t wait until January 1 if there’s a change you want to make. Do it today.
Let there be light.