New Year, New Me: How We Sacrifice our Humanity in Seasons of New Beginnings (And What To Do Instead)

By the time I publish this post, 2016 will be only two days away. Two. DAYS. It is insane that we have arrived at this point in the year already and it is no surprise we are building up positive anticipation for next year as a result. From my observations, both online and offline, it seems like 2015 was a trying year for many people, myself included. If it was not particularly terrible, it was a year of growth. In either case, there are several people who are optimistic for the new season ahead (as they should be) and mantras like “new year, new me” have already made rounds. But I have also noticed the following statements:

“Next year, I am starting fresh. No more sadness.”

“2016 will be a year of fearlessness.”

“Positive thinking for next year! No room for failure!”

And I wonder if anyone out there is thinking what I am thinking.New Year, New me

Positivity is a great thing. It is something to aspire to in the midst of bad news and negativity. But all too often, I have noticed how our perception of positivity includes the avoidance of things like sadness, fear, and failure. These things, inevitably stitched to the fabric of our human experiences–we unravel the threads and remove these patches, sacrificing parts of our humanity in the name of optimism. But it is time we are honest with ourselves.

The truth is things like sadness, fear, and failure are normal, unavoidable things about being human. 

You cannot run away from it. A turn of a new page, a new year, or a new season of any kind will not all of a sudden make these things go away. It just won’t.

And perhaps this is the part where people get upset, misunderstanding my message and conflating my observations with being negative. But that is not what I am doing at all.

I am taking the time to discuss the fortitude that you possess. I am taking the time to point out the tenacity that it has taken for you to arrive in this moment right here, right now. I am here to tell you that although I may not know your personal struggles, I know what being hopeless feels like. I am here to tell you that we made it. So where do we go from here?

Our goal should not be to push through in the absence of hardships. It should be to push through despite them.

We have the option to grab fear by the shoulders. We are allowed to look it in the eye and say, “Yes, I acknowledge you are here but I am making moves anyway.” We are allowed to note the presence of sadness, doubt, frustration — whatever it may be, and act in the direction of our purpose. We are allowed to note those parts of ourselves that we are taught to shame. We are allowed to not let those things have power over us. We are allowed to live without regret. We are allowed to be aware of the fear and doubt we may encounter while not compromising our optimism. All of these things are not mutually exclusive.

New Year New Me

So, instead, I will acknowledge that doubt, fear, and sadness will probably exist next year as it did this year. Who am I kidding, it will exist next year. If I am honest, I am already apprehensive about some events that have already been scheduled and goals that I have already planned for this new season of my life. But like this year, I will make moves regardless, taking initiative in the different ways next year’s events unfold and being hopeful that I have the wisdom to guide me in my decisions.

What are some of the things you are looking forward to in 2016? Let me know in the comments section below. Thank you so much for joining me on the ride this year on Verily Merrily Mary and I wish you nothing but the best in the new year. 🙂

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  • I totally agree with this and I think that expectation for perfection when setting goals is what causes a lot of people to give up. We have to prepare for bad, crazy, and stressful things to happen but continue to move forward to accomplish our goals and be the person we want to be despite any setbacks or hardships.

    – Courtney
    courtneylthings.blogspot.com

  • Exactly! I think that is a wise perspective, to be honest. Moving forward and giving our goals and aspirations despite hardships is the way to go. Thanks for commenting, Courtney and Happy New Year to you! 🙂

  • 2015 sucked. Sometimes life sucks. It’s absolutely part of who we are. Would 2015 have been better if I hadn’t been so sick, or if my mother hadn’t died? Absolutely. But those are physical realities that I cannot change. I don’t think 2015 would have been better if I hadn’t grieved my mother or chosen self-care above almost all else while dealing with my Crohn’s. I absolutely want 2016 to be better, but what sucked about 2015 were circumstances beyond my control. What will make 2016 good is up to me, but what will make 2016 better will also probably be beyond my control.

  • Your experience with losing your mom remind me of when I lost my mom although it happened when I was a child. It was definitely one of the most difficult parts of my life and, till this day, her absence from my life still affects me. That will never change. But every year since then, it amazes me that my family survived. My dad and I sometimes have nostalgic moments and we’re like, “Whoa, HOW did we live through that?” I live my life wanting to make my mom proud, even though she is no longer with me. And my heart is still sad from her no longer being with me. It’s not something you “get over” (and I HATE that there are people who give grieving a timeline) but you do discover how much losing a parent, no matter what age, strengthens you. And it is in this strength that I thrive no matter what challenge comes my way. I absolutely agree that what makes this year good is up to us. But there are inevitable circumstances outside our control. And even then, time and perspective can make all the difference there as well. Thank you for reading and commenting, Brita. I wish you a beautiful 2016! 🙂