The New Year is a strange time, my friends! It may be my age bracket, this generation of doers and seekers and believers and achievers, but the new year inevitably brings with it this expectation of change. Of improvment. of self-discovery and renewal. It's all the magazines talk about, all people ask about - your resolutions, your goals, what you hope to accomplish in the next 365 days.
It is an automatic beginning, and everyone is looking to the clean slate. Not only are people anticipating some kind of cosmic reboot, but it's almost a given that there is something one wants to change in the next twelve months. This presumes that improvement for improvement's sake is the goal, not the results themselves.
I don't mean to sound like a downer; my intent is the opposite. The new year is a time for a refresh, a second chance - but so is every other morning that you awaken and take breath into your lungs and feel your muscles move and drink that first glorious cup of coffee (hey, I had to bring it back down to reality there somehow.)
"And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been."
-- Rainer Maria Rilke
I love the idea that the New Year is a reminder to change, to improve upon the best parts of yourself and to shed away those aspects you don't hold in as high of regard. But I think to imply, as many do, that this time of year is the only time you can attempt to improve yourself is to discount a bit of what it means to be human.
We are constantly moving, constantly growing. Especially in this modern society, being adaptable is practically a prerequisite for living. Don't even get me started on that whole "climbing out of the primordial ooze" thing, because we had a boatload of changes going on to make that happen.
Last year I got a different job, moved apartments, switched gears into an entirely new area of law, made new friends, cooked a lot, knitted a lot, and attempted to get my real life adult budget under control. There were many areas of my life I tried to "work on" and move forward, and 2015 was pretty similar to the past few years in terms of overall number of life changes (read: there are a lot. Always. Tis the way of things.)
But these were constant improvements, constant little attempts to better my life. I would falter, like anyone, and then try again. You've heard it here: how I tried to save more money, eat healthier, be more productive. These are things that take place all year long. The trying doesn't expire as quickly as the glow of the new year does. At least, it shouldn't.
I say, let the New Year serve as a reminder of time's passage, of how quickly the days go by, of how easy it is to let things slip until "someday" and "when I have time." But don't let it shackle us to this idea that only the beginnings or endings count.
It is not how you start, or how you finish, any goal or task. It is how you work -- consistently, tenaciously, tirelessly -- to achieve the things that matter to you. It is the middle bits. The boring parts that are put into a movie montage showing hours in the gym or library or office. It is getting up again after a setback, and realizing things take time to accomplish. It does not have to be a day in January for you to set a goal, and it does not have to be a day in December for you to try to keep that resolution.
I see the quote "if not now, when?" floating around the interwebs these days, and my question to you is, "if not now, then how about tomorrow?"
It's easy to be motivated at the beginning. What matters is how you get through the middle.
(Am I the only one who needs to be reminded of that?)