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.
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.
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.