We all want a fresh start. Either the year was hard, the semester was hard, or the holidays were hard. My father’s company died 10 months ago, and he has yet to find another job. He has 30 years of experience in his field. Ashley moved home immediately following graduation and has been working at a coffee shop for 9 months because all the recently laid-off or unemployed executives have the entry-level jobs, and what else is a coveted “well-rounded” education for? Georgia scored the coveted paid internship, but is also at the beck and call of a high-powered woman who expects the world to revolve around her. So while the group of friends is out commiserating together, Georgia is back in her office retrieving the left behind cell-phone for delivery to the boss’ home. With a liberal arts degree, what choice does Tim have but to go back to school after already working his ass off for said degree? And after losing her best friend to cancer, Lindsey wants nothing more than for the holidays to end so she doesn’t have to constantly be reminded of the missing loved one.
While I have changed the majority of names above, at least one of their stories will resonate with every single reader. So we look to the new year for change, and hope that it brings better luck. Except we are actually half-way through the academic year (congratulations students), a fourth of the way through a fiscal year (how’s your portfolio doing?), at the end of the Chinese year based on the lunar calendar, and only at the beginning of the solar year as according to the Gregorian Calendar. Therefore expectations are that because the earth has successfully completed a full rotation around the sun, our lives have the potential to start anew. And so according to some tradition of our species, the 6 billion intelligent animals on the successfully spinning rock of space vow to themselves that their lives will be different on this next rotation. We make plans to uphold some obligation that has the potential of making us happier, or more successful, or appear to be a better functioning human.
If there is one thing that 2011 taught me, it’s that the only thing I will ever be successful at is the thing my heart actually wants. I go to school because that’s what grown people tell me is required of becoming grown up. I look for paying jobs because that’s what society tells me stable, mature people do. My friends get married because that’s what our culture says is the most secure thing for a woman to do. I travel because that is what I love to do. I write because I enjoy it. While these endeavors do not necessarily lead to the kind of success that society requires of its adults, I am successful in every one of these attempts because I am motivated to do what I enjoy.
What would it look like to choose a resolution that corresponds to an actual personal desire? And if we are going to gain inspiration and seek new beginnings with the patterns of earth’s rotation, why not look to every rotation, every reappearance of the sun on the horizon?
Every. Single. Day.