New Year's Resolutions have a decidedly bad rep -- the idea of someone naively pledging to reinvent themselves at the drop of a golden ball seems almost eye-roll worthy. But I admit: Fresh starts, new beginnings, change -- the allure of being able to start over and avoid all the mistakes of the year before seems pretty good every time around. To think, "This is going to be my year. This is going to be the year I finally stop the same behavior and I do it right." Unfortunately, this overly optimistic thinking inevitably leaves me feeling like a failure within the first month.
But what if resolutions weren't all-or-nothing commitments of metamorphic change expected at a midnight countdown?
What I've found, in my personal experience of New Year's resolutions, is that I am so determined to be better the next year that the slightest inability to stay perfect sends me spiraling off into the abandonment of my goals. This being said, I do not mean that my year becomes null and void, nor do I mean I do not grow or achieve dreams. I only mean that when I focus my "New Year, New Me" attention on a complete, perfect transformation -- I always fail.
So what now?
I have gone back and forth trying to decide how to approach 2020: how to focus on goals and betterment without expecting pure perfection while simultaneously focusing on goals that are not so obtuse that their hazy definitions are lost in the whirlwind of everyday life.
Let me tell you, this has been much harder than it may seem.
What do I want to do with my year? What have I decided is important enough to focus on with the next 365 days of my intention and energy? What is too little, and what is so much I have no hopes of ever completing it all?
But then I looked at 2019 and everything it gave me. Every moment of exhilaration, exhaustion, fear and adrenaline, peace and contentment. And I realized the only times I had those intense feelings, those moments of pure living, were the times that I allowed myself to do something for the sole purpose of having the experience. Not just the possibilties I could imagine turning out good, fun, or enjoyable, but all the ones I knew I would never forget.
This way of living gave me laughter-filled nights with people I never imagined meeting, opportunities I thought would always remain dreams, and moments of heart-stopping awe at the world around me. Granted, it also brought me mistake-soaked tears, moments of doubt and insecurity, failures and moments I thought I had it all wrong.
But every single experience raised me, even when I felt beaten into the ground. Every moment forced me to appreciate, love, and act differently. Better.
I introduce to you, my New Year's resolution.
Along with the more tangible goals to travel to a new country, be more intentional with my faith, read more and secure an internship, my New Year's resolution is to live for the sole purpose of experiencing life. To forgive myself for the moments I mess up, to appreciate the moments where everything is perfect, and to take each with the same understanding that every moment makes me better.
My New Year's resolution is to let each experience be extraordinary -- not because of it's grandeur -- but simply because life is extraordinary.