Out with the Old, In with the New

Why is everyone celebrating the death of a year again and why do we get so excited for the start of a new year? I’m sure the thought has crossed your mind as well in the past. Obviously, I don’t know why you think people do this same dance every year. Our relationship is one where my words teleport into your head through one medium or another. Sadly, most of the time, I’m not getting any kind of feedback.

Humans love to toss a whole bunch of seemingly unrelated things into one big bucket. I do it, everyone I know does it, and I’m about to do it again. Here it gets even weirder because this bucket stuffing is about bucket stuffing.

I think people like new years for the same reason that they like new people. And I’m using new in nearly every sense of the word. New things have promise, they lack the seemingly perfect clarity of hindsight that allows us to dream about them. A new year could mean anything for you, it could be a new job, a new relationship, a new experience. Something you’ve always wanted to do but have never done.

The end of a year is the direct inverse of this pairing of knowledge and promise. Once a year is over you realize all the things you didn’t do, all the people you didn’t meet, and all that dreadfully wasted potential. You knew what that year could be at the start and yet by the end of it all the achievements never stacked up.

I believe this is true of people as well. We take transgressions against children with so much more vitriol than we do transgressions against adults. A child can be so many things. They can be kind, funny, talented, and any other positive adjective you can imagine. They are lightning in a bottle, a vessel of potential.

Adults on the other hand have had all these chances and chosen to forego them. We see with each passing decade they did not reach their potential. And then, someday, we see them in a position of great power bringing incredible shame to their family, friends, and fellow humans. And in those moments, they become the end of a year personified.

We see a person that could have been so many great things and instead they chose incredible mediocrity. Don’t be fooled either, you can fail to the very top and rule the world while still being a disappointment. A great many tools, people, and events were incredible in their potential but ultimately disappointing in their outcomes.

Your parents, your superiors, your government officials, there is no position of great power that cannot be held alongside wasted potential. There is no mountain so high that one cannot climb it and still be a failure.

At least not when your metric for success is the positivity and beauty that you bring. And so, we return to the new year. A moment where anything can happen. Dozens of weeks, hundreds of days, and thousands of hours awaiting us with incredible promise and the kindness of no limitations.

With all that in mind I’m going to bookend this rambling with my own plans for this year. Behind me we’ve got ole booker growing dusty with mistreatment. I’m going to be taking some time out of my month to dust him off and move around the nonsense that I don’t have the heart to get rid of. I’m not actually sure what I named this other bookshelf, or if I did, but I’ll also need to clean that up. I’ve got an enormous number of cards that need to be sorted. The rest will either be sold or donated. I might make a few videos out of that.

I’m going to be cutting back dramatically on what is already a light consumption of social media. Last year I literally deleted my Facebook and hit the gym. Admittedly I didn’t lawyer up, but it is looking increasingly likely that I’ll be involved with some nonsense thereabouts in the coming weeks. More on that once it is all over.

I plan to hit the gym more this year than I did last year. Apparently, I visited the gym about 135-140 times in 2019. I’m shooting for 200 visits this year.

And overall my biggest goal is to keep my goals approachable and comforting. To take in the world slowly and at a pace that works best for me. The only day to day goal I’m going to have for the rest of the year is to do something each day that makes me happy. Be it writing, making videos, streaming, hanging out, meditating, or working out. Something, anything, big or small, that leaves me with a smile. I think at the end of the day that’s the best thing I can do with my time.

If I can pull that out, I’ll consider 2020 a winner of a year. We’ll see if I can nurture this year so that it lives up to the potential, I’ve set out for it. That way when the year closes out, I’m not joining in the melancholy parade.