The New Year: Why I Leave Behind the Old and Stay Present in the Here and Now.

     For as long as I can remember, I’ve never been that girl who has made a big deal about New Year’s Eve. I can only think of maybe a handful of times that I’ve made an effort to throw on a slinky dress and heels and wander around downtown amidst the lights and lingering festivities. Those of us in the industry know that NYE is what we refer to as “amateur night”. That’s when everyone goes out, gets drunk and all sorts of chaos ensues and I just want no part of that. I mean, does anyone?

     The thing that boggles my mind is how much of an emphasis we put on the idea of “New Year, New Me” and the lack of “This Year, This is Me”. We spend so much time projecting onto our future selves that we miss a lot of the here and now. This idea, that so many entertain, about how life will be better “next year” runs rampant for the last month and a half of every year. I see countless Facebook, Instagram or blog posts every day, referring to this magical land in the future where everything is bright and new and wonderful. What I want to know is, how do you think you get there? The here and now is intrinsically connected to that bright, shiny future we pine for. The work you put in today directly affects the future you strive so hard for.

     In my early twenties I began putting in some hard work on myself internally. Having gone to school for psychology in my late teens and early 20’s, outside of therapy as a kid, I find I am more introspective than most and have had that pointed out by a lot of people who know me best. Honing this skill over the years has allowed me to forgive myself for past transgressions (I was a rowdy teen) and has softened my outlook on life and my place in it dramatically. A lot of people are their own worst enemies, and having witnessed it in my youth, I have refused to be that person as I grow older. I have trained myself, and it is training, to see the positive in just about any situation. That is no easy task, my friends, because it is so easy to fall back into negative thoughts and patterns. As the years have gone on, I am more of a friend to myself now than I have ever been. I bet you, reader, like many, haven’t thought about that concept before. It is imperative in this life that you have your own back. The saying is true, no one else will. Family and friends will, of course, but even that has its boundaries. Self-love is endless, when you can finally tap into that wealth within you. Only when you can finally utilize it, do you understand it.

     So, every year around this time I find myself boggled by this notion that people have that “next year will be better”. How about today? How about now? Yes, 2017 was definitely a year for the books. We have a controversial president in the White House (I am keeping my personal feelings out of this one), war seems ever on the brink of happening and we were reminded of what happens when people in power abuse it. These are just a few things. There are so many more instances, for better or for worse, but there have been so many more amazing moments that deserve attention. This year, I witnessed hundreds of thousands of women standing strong and tall, loving themselves, alongside one another. I saw women of all colors, races and creeds step up and say “Enough” in such a global display that it brings tears to my eyes. I watched as Nasa’s Cassini made its final trip around Saturn and eventually burned up in its atmosphere. Space is so fascinating to me and to be able to be a part of that was so huge to me. In fact, if you want more proof of the positive things you may have missed while focusing so intently on the negative, look no further than former President Barack Obama’s Twitter feed. I cannot be more proud to have called that man my president. In the last few days, he has shed light on so many of the good things we have to thank 2017 for. That, to me, is a real testament of character. Sure, he could use his twitter to complain, as many often do, but the fact that he takes the time to do the exact opposite speaks volumes on his character. More of us, as a society, could learn from that.

     Personally, I have a lot of things to be grateful for in 2017. I took a leap of faith and started doing something that I loved and the response I was given has propelled me forward into new things for 2018. My cooking has opened up so many new doors, both personally and professionally, and I excited for everything that will bring me. My little blog, albeit a work in progress, is coming along nicely and it brings me a lot of joy to share my creations with you. Outside of all of that, I have a job that I enjoy wherein I work with people who make me laugh. I have been fortunate enough because of that job to meet and befriend some amazing people from all different walks of life. Most importantly, for me, this year has allowed me to make my own schedule. For the first time ever, I moved to ‘part-time” or as part time as the industry allows. I’ve never had the opportunity to dictate my schedule before and the freedom it has given me has allowed me to breathe for the first time in years. All of these things, hand-in-hand, have made this year one of the best for me and one that I’ll remember for years to come.

     Life doesn’t have to be flashy or perfect, it just has to feel good. I don’t just want a life that looks nice from the outside, I want a life that feels good while I’m living it. And, friends, that is the most important phrase in this entire post. You, first and foremost, have to live your life. You have to wake up every day and decide to be present in the here and now. Today is your only guarantee and sometimes that isn’t even guaranteed. Spend your todays and nows being preset in your own life. Take the time you have and put it to more fruitful use, because this is all we have. Right now, 2018 is this magical place in a future we cannot fathom or touch, so make the final day of 2017 matter. Make today count. 

I challenge you all over the next twelve months to be more present in your life, to take more risks for the things you love and to tell those you love just how important they are. I challenge you to love yourselves and life so fiercely that your today’s are the beginnings of tomorrow’s dreams. One foot in front of the other, friends, one day at a time. Together, we can.

“Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.”
― Brad Paisley


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