A Challenge To The New Year

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I usually know the end of the month I usually devote talking what it’s like being a guy but I don’t want the miss the opportunity to talk about how the end of the year and the start of a new one gives up a time to reflect upon ourselves and change our lives, which the blog has spent so much time devoted to. So next month there will be a double post of the World In The Life Of A Guy bringing that series to its end of regular serialization after a year to pursue other topics. This has been a great year, full of ups and downs and but for now, I want to look forward, forward to the new year.

Why is the new year so synonymous with change? Not to be pedantic, but what do we feel happens between 11:59PM New Years Eve and 12:00AM New Years Day?  Is there some sort of magical moment where we metamorphize from our past selves to this new self that is much more capable than the one before.  From my experience, life rarely works that way.  What I do know is that we do not gain some sort of extra motivation or discipline from holidays.  Though I don’t doubt that the new year is a great moment to try new things especially with all the great deals that usually come along with the holiday season, planning for change, at least for me, doesn’t work.  It’s like buying an ice cream cone and waiting until you get home to eat it, chances are when you get there, the ice cream will have already melted. I know that taking advantage of the motivation as it comes as it is kindling to start something new and if I wait too long I won’t have the same strength to carry it through.

This doesn’t answer what I want from the new year.  Last year and the year before I had planted the seeds for a future I wanted, and this year is the year I take care of and prune those plants so they will grow.  This is not to say that new and unusual things aren’t on the docket, but I feel in learning to nurture progress, my investments will come to bear fruit.
There are things that I am dissatisfied with.  I have come a long way to fix and foster my relationships, but in some ways, I have fallen short.  I feel like I need to put myself out there and find a way to make sure the people who love me know I love them back.  I am dissatisfied with my eating and spending habits, though I put effort I am not where I want to be, and I want to change that. I am dissatisfied with my work ethic, though it has come a long way, I still find myself under the control of the whims of the day, throwing off what I intend to get done and the timing of how I want it to be done by.
These aside, there will always be dissatisfactions in my life, to strive is to live, and to live is to work.  This new year, I will take as a blessing and push myself to learn as much as I can, keeping an open mind and open heart to the way the world works and always working towards what I think is the right path and what is good. I am lucky, I have people around me who pursue their dreams, and who push back upon the void and create something beautiful from nothing.  I am fortunate to be frustrated and want more for myself. I am happy that when I look around, I feel like there is always more I can do, and that what I want do it if I only put my mind and spirit into to it.

2018 is a year to grow and change, feed and prune, to pursue and accomplish.  Goodbye 2017, you were good to me.  Hello 2018, I am coming for you.

Though I don’t say this every time, if anyone ever needs help or wants to talk I am here to listen, you are not alone there in the dark.

A Resolute Resolution

What will I become in this new year?

I see a vividly a version of myself standing upon a hill with back faced to me.  A much larger more powerful person stands before me, confronted with the future, ready to take on the challenges of tomorrow.  He has a grin as if he knows what the future hold and how to move about it. This man standing at the other end of the year is challenging me to catch up.

Resolutions don’t work, at least no the majority of the time.  Trying to change yourself in so many ways all at once and expecting result immediately is only setting yourself up for failure. Anticipating the arrival of the new year to have some sort of bearing on how well you are able to do something is a bit silly. Moments should be grasped when the motivation is at hand, not when we feel like the motivation should come.

This is why I don’t have a resolution but a resolve. I want to be better, stronger, more compassionate and helpful. I want to be that man on the mountain I see before me, not just stuck staring at the back of what I could be.  I want to the one who is more of a man of action, one who is less hesitant and less likely to be paralyzed by fear and indecision. This might seem vague but what I am to do is eliminate the feeling of being able to do more by actually doing it.

In learning all I can, I came upon a concept of deliberate practice. The practice that you do to continue to push your ability and skills to the next level. This is the way you become an expert at something. This is something I must learn to do, deliberate practice of life.  To make it so I am constantly pushing the boundaries of what I can and can’t do. Learning how to get to each of the next stages in my own life.

This is my promise to myself that I will be that man I see on the hill, that man who is challenging me now, so by the time next year comes around, I will be able to challenge my past self too and welcome the next challenge with a smile.

This is my resolution, this is my resolve. I hope to all of you that we are all successful in our pursuits, but I have a back to catch up to, and I have to get started now!

To: The End Of The Year

I wanted to try a new mode of writing because I feel like my ability to express how I feel and my message are severely lacking. One thing I am good at is articulating how I feel in the form of a letter.

Dear 2016,

Hey, I thought I would squeeze this in right at the end of the year. We’ve known each other for a while now, and I wanted to get the chance to bridge out beyond our professional relationship before it’s too late (I am not known for my timing but bear with me).

We started off a bit sour, I had just been broken up with by 2015 and wasn’t in the place to accept new years into my life, especially after such an emotional roller coaster that the previous one was.

You took me under your wing and showed me how to pick myself up after it all. I would be more thankful, but you did kinda slap me senseless along the way. You took me back to my roots to show me all that I had and pointed out all the things I had to work on. Kept me grounded in reality, almost too much.

We had to get through loss and failure together, but somehow you just kept marching forward triumphantly.  I never understood your spirit, through all the chaos you kept moving.  I followed behind you, running to keep up, never wanting to fall behind again. 2016 you might have not been the best for me, but you did help me a great deal.

I got stronger during our time together, learned discipline and how to work hard for the things I want.  Made me understand the difference between doing and trying to do. You did make me feel uncomfortable with all the change you brought about, but you said change was inevitable and you have to learn to live with it.

I know I wasn’t the best at times, and I still have a long way to go, but through all of our time together you really wanted me to become a better person. Truth be told, I felt more human with you, more vulnerable because you don’t take my shit and you constantly ask me for more and more. I opened myself up this year to the world and people around me, because you showed me how much more I could lose if I didn’t.

It might have been wrong of me to make plans for you at the beginning, all those ideas that never panned out. You took care of me, though, created times and situations where I could genuinely laugh and smile.  Let me see my friends, made me feel like I wasn’t some broken cog in a machine. I saw that I had some purpose here and that people wanted me around. Gave me perspective, and a chance to expand my view beyond myself.

I know we didn’t agree at times, and at others, we were busy with our own goings on, but I always knew you were watching over me.
I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to say this earlier and only now that you are leaving that I have the courage to speak, Thank you 2016 for all the love, pain, and discovery we shared together.  Without you, I would still be in that hole looking up at the sky hoping to be saved instead of learning to climb out of it myself.

2016, at the end of it all with you going away we both know you weren’t the greatest thing to happen to me. You’ll go on your way knowing you made a difference, it’s up to me now to greet the new year and start working towards my future. So have a nice trip, I know we may never see each other again, but the memories we shared are irreplaceable. 2016, I love you.

Most Sincerely,
Me