Instead Of 'New Year, New Me,' Try 'New Year, Better Me'

Instead of 'New Year, New Me,' Try 'New Year, Better Me'

The new year brings immense hope and optimism for a better future and bettering yourself.

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Every time a new year arises, most people become overwhelmed with excitement of the possibility of a better future. When a new year comes, it is a great time to try to make some changes to yourself. However, I still find it interesting how from December 31st to January 1st, peoples mindset change from recovering from Christmas to wanting to change their whole life, just because of one day. This drastic change isn't always bad though. Sometimes, for people who want to make changes, something in their life has to end, like a year. Wanting to make some lifestyle changes is good for the most part, but trying to completely change everything about you in one day probably isn't going to end well.

Every time a new year comes, there is always a lot of hype around it; everyone is so excited to get a fresh start. However, every day is a fresh start and a person can begin to make changes at any time, not just on New Year's Day.

In previous "New Year's," I would make a list of resolutions that I wanted to accomplish. Like most people, after about a week, I started to forget to look at the list I had made and only did some minor changes to myself and my lifestyle. With this new year, however, I didn't make a list. I really didn't even think about any resolutions I wanted to make for myself.

In the sea of social media posts I saw/read about the new year, many of them contained that person's resolutions or even their motto going into this new year. I didn't make any posts on social media about the new year either, nothing. You're probably wondering what's wrong with me and if I am even excited about the new year, and the truth is, I am excited, just in a different way.

As I mentioned before, I didn't make any emotional social media posts about the new year and that is because of a few different reasons. The first one being, the new year snuck up on me. After the Christmas craziness began to end, my hectic schedule didn't and before I knew it, I was watching TV, counting down to 2019. Not only did time get away from me, but I also just decided I wasn't going to make any specific resolutions this year. I decided to just try to better myself every day this year like how I did in 2018. To be honest, I am always trying to be a better version of myself, so my goal for this new year is to just continue to do that. I want to take what I learned in 2018 (which was a lot) and use that knowledge to my advantage in 2019.

So, I guess if I had to choose a motto for what I hope to accomplish in 2019, it would be 'new year, better me' instead of 'new year, new me'. I switched my motto to 'better me' because I don't want to totally reinvent myself and become a new person. As I have gotten older, I have already changed and matured and will continue to do so in my own natural course of life, no need to rush it. I just want to keep bettering myself in the new year, rather than changing myself.

That all being said, if you're like me and the new year snuck up on you and you're still in shock, just try to better yourself and not change yourself. Trying to make drastic changes overnight or even in a span of a week can be really difficult to do and most people become frustrated and give up. Try your best to avoid this. Instead, just take one day at a time and focus on small changes or just being more aware of things. With the new year comes optimism about the future, so make it a good outcome and take it one step a time.

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.

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Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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My First College Gal Pal Road Trip Was Amazing

Every girl should have one good girls trip.

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In some way or another, everybody has a list of things they want to do in their lives before it's all over. After all, we're human. There's adventure to be had in every life. One thing I have always wanted to do before I grew too old and grey was go on a road trip with my gal pals to the beach. A couple weeks ago, I achieved this memorable milestone, and it allowed me to open up to new surroundings and experiences.

On this trip, I went with two of my friends from college, Kait and Lindsey, to visit my roommate Elizabeth in Virginia Beach. This was pretty big for Lindsey and I because neither of us had been to Virginia Beach before. Thankfully Elizabeth and Kait knew their way around the city, so we never got lost on our way to and fro.

Like most vacations, my favorite parts probably took place at the beach. I'm always at utter peace stomping through mushy sand or leaning down to splash the salty water that tries to knock my short self over. We took pictures and did something us college girls rarely have time to do especially in school: Relax.

The four of us did not live up to the crazed stereotype of girl trips in movies. Although I finally got a chance to sing along to Taylor Swift in a car ride with my friends, so that's always a plus. We played "Top Golf" one day, and by some miracle, I actually won the second game by a fair amount after much humiliation in the first one. We visited some of Elizabeth's family, and I finally got to meet her giant dog Apollo (I call him 'Wolf Dog'). Everyday was another chance to ask with enthusiasm: "So what are we doing today?"

Our trip wasn't like the movies where we all cried or confessed our deepest darkest secrets. Everything the four of us shared was laughter and this calm feeling of being at home, in the chaotic peace of each other's company. We understand each other a little better due to finally seeing what we're like outside of Longwood University. After this, all I can say is that we're most definitely planning the next one!

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