In the 48 hours since 2019 began, I keep coming across people on the internet saying things like “Don’t say you’re reinventing yourself every year! New Year’s resolutions are just another way to feel bad about yourself!” These aren’t new ideas, but I’m seeing them expressed in ways I haven’t before. For example, one man wrote that people are not Russian nesting dolls who have personalities inside personalities, faces inside faces, or lives inside lives. I see his point, that I am only one person who has only one life. “New year, new me” is impossible. I’ll never be able to reinvent everything about myself, even if I wanted to. I understand the desire to reassure others who might be feeling unnecessary pressure to accomplish something as daunting as trying to change all at once. Nobody wants to be overwhelmed. But I don’t think it’s accurate to push the opposite: that New Year’s resolutions are inherently negative or that December 31 is as mundane as any other day.
I don’t see why the idea of New Year’s has to be either no big deal at all or the biggest deal of all the deals ever. If someone finds value in an annual time to reflect and focus on creating positive change for themselves, then let them! To those who insist New Year’s doesn’t matter, I’d venture a guess that you at least see it as another occasion to eat wings.
December 31 doesn’t feel like March 18 or April 9 or September 22. December 31 signals that some amount of change is upon us, whether we’re ready for it or not. It’s the end of one year in history and the beginning of another one. We all feel something. For many, there’s a feeling of suspense as they watch the ball drop in Times Square. For others, a feeling of relief as they see the clock move from 11:59 to 12 midnight and change the page on the paper calendar or see the year number on their devices auto adjust. Some feel anxiety, excitement, or sadness. New Year’s isn’t everything, but (forgive my double negative) it’s not nothing either. It’s something to everyone. My something is determination to learn to be a much better cook, anticipation of writing the outline for my book, and another goal of some kind that ends in ook. Okay, fine, it doesn’t end in ook, but I want to work for at least one more PAX convention in 2019. At the end of the day (and the year for that matter), I don’t need to reinvent myself. But why not try to improve the myself that I’ve got? Hello there, 2019. I don’t know what you look like yet, but so far I’m all about it!