I was never really big into celebrating New Year’s Eve. Not that I don’t enjoy a good celebration or the promise that comes with anticipating a blank slate primed and prepped for a slew of new adventures. And certainly not because I can’t get behind those crazy novelty glasses (you know the ones) or wearing an unreasonable amount of glitter or watching for fireworks at midnight. All fun stuff, sure.
Still, I am, to the core of my nature, an overthinker and so while I can let loose and open my arms to new-year-ness, it has always come with a little hesitation, a tiny ounce of pressure to become better, a smattering of worrying and wondering if I’ll make anything much of this time I’ve been given.
The new year is a time for starting over, for making plans on what you can do to get organized, to move on, to improve, to whittle, to give up, to declutter, all in the hopes of making insert-year-here your “best year yet.”
Best year yet. Have you seen that phrase pop up in your life in the last month or so? Along with the aforementioned party fanfare, I’m also not against hoping for the best. In fact, I’m one of those people that believes in the ultimate power of positive thinking. But I do find myself in a struggle with what best really means. I think “best” in terms of New Year’s preparation usually means that you should aim to become your most put-together self. The ultimate version of you. The version who is never late, never succumbs to stress, never loses touch with anyone, never forgets a birthday, never hurts a feeling, never caves to a second scoop of ice cream.
And for some people, maybe it's that simple. Maybe "best" infers a more refined, impressively-cultured yet magically well-rested sector of your self. But this year, for me, I want to take a different route. Not the one less traveled necessarily, but rather a road I personally have never even glanced towards let alone considered walking down: I’m going to let it go. No, I’m not going to give up on myself or my hopes or my health. I’m not going to become a slovenly misfit or stop wearing sunscreen. I’m going to keep working hard and prioritize my life’s loves, but while I’m doing that I am also going to try to breathe a little deeper. I am going attempt to stop clenching my teeth when something annoying happens and I am definitely, absolutely, going to try to see the beauty in the dilemmas, reframe problems as opportunities or future funny anecdotes, make fewer lists (because having too many is a real thing!) and maybe, just maybe, live on the edge of being a little less organized (or, if I’m being honest, controlling) for as much as I can stand it.
Of course, there has already been someone who said all of this better (another thing I might as well work on letting go while I’m at it). In Farewell Summer, Ray Bradbury’s last novel published during his lifetime, he said:
“Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it.”
So I don’t know about having it all, about transforming into the "best" version of myself. I’m starting to think it’s one of those myths that we buy into so we keep working in a circle towards something we never really wanted in the first place. I’m doing my very best handling having some of the good stuff; what would I ever do with the responsibility of all?
Instead, I’m going to do what I can to love what I’ve got, where I am, and who I’m with. I do know about clinging and clutching and holding on with all my might. Rather, I'm going to see what it's like to stand with my heart and hands open, to wait rather than rush, to be content instead of only busy. Maybe this year, 2015, is the year I learn a little more about release. Life is short and we must take adventures to know where we truly belong, whether that adventure is easy or not so easy, whether it challenges us to hunker down or to let a little loose.
- The Importance of Downtime via The Huffington Post.
- A genius trick on how to worry less via A Cup Of Jo.
- An important reminder to live as if this is all there is.
- And from the mouths of babes, how to build a bridge via Humans Of New York.
Want to practice intention this year? Come to our Intentions & Habit Building Workshop on January 20th!
Helen Williams is the Community Love Director at Holstee. She is passionate about cooking and writing which pair well together on her vegetarian food blog, green girl eats. She's strives, every day, to be less sorry.
Image by Lisa Congdon as shown in The Best Art, Design, and Photography Books of 2014 on Brain Pickings.
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