It’s Okay If The New Year Doesn’t Mean A New You

As the clock struck 12 across the world and fireworks lit up the night skies, we entered another year—this time it was 2022. Every single person approaches the end of the year and the start of the next with a different perspective, as we do with anything in life.

If you are anything like me, then the run up to New Year’s holds a bag of mixed emotions with it. This always starts right after the festivities of Christmas phase out, as our generation begins to collectively mock the blur of time between the 25th December and the 1st January through memes and humorous tweets. As New Year’s Eve approaches, we begin to see social media posts captioned “My year in review” spring up from every corner of our social media worlds. One could say that this is an opportunity to look back and appreciate and be grateful for all of the wonderful things that may have happened to a person that year. However, for some of us, the year of 2021 may not have gone according to plan, particularly during the second year of a Global Pandemic. These posts can make us compare our own lives to others and overthink the “year in review” of our own lives. For some of us, our own internal mirrors can see a reflection of comparison and cast a shadow on a year that we should be celebrating for simply surviving. Alongside these posts, we also start to see ‘New Year’s resolutions’ pour through our phones, from countless emails and from friends near and far, with messages and posts titled “New Year, New Me.”

We see resolutions that tell us to “start fresh”—erase who you are. “Work harder”—you’ve not done enough. “Start a diet”—your imperfections are showing. The volume of phrases that swell amongst our society on the cusp of New Year’s can almost be deafening. It is an act of pure rebellion to stop and to reflect on the saying of “New Year, New Me” and to silence the noise of society’s whisper that we are not good enough.

The multiple waves of the pandemic have given me an opportunity to sit back and reflect into the depths of who I am. It has allowed me the opportunity of time to let go of the layers of myself that have burdened me. I silently began to shed the weight of beliefs that I was carrying that did not belong to me. If you had asked the younger version of me about the beliefs that were burdening me, I would not have been able to differentiate between my own beliefs and the ideas that I was taught through the years of conditioning that our culture had put upon me. Through a constant bombardment throughout our lives of ways in which we should change.

If we wade through the noise of New Year’s and we breathe into the space of who we really are, we begin to see that maybe it is okay to see in New Year’s without that noise. Maybe it is okay if you want to post a “year in review,” and maybe it is also okay to not want to participate or even view friends and families posts of their “year in review.” Maybe it is okay if you want to shout, “New Year, new me.” But it is equally okay if you simply want to say, “New Year, same me.”

Maybe the act of simply being yourself is enough.

Maybe surviving a global pandemic is an achievement itself.

Maybe we can offer ourselves personal applause instead, in celebration of the mountains within our minds and souls that we have climbed and may still be climbing.

Maybe it is enough to wake up on the first day of a new year as the same us, with equal parts of being enough and with open hearts with hope for more. Without needing to change, replace, or compare the parts of us and our lives that have carried us through the year of 2021.

From the bottom of my heart, I wish you a peaceful and happy New Year and hope that you know that you are enough just as you are. This may be the start of another year, but with each passing moment, there is always hope. Hope for the same us that has survived a global pandemic, to a future where there is hope to flourish, with the same courageous spirit that got us through the year of 2021. I am happy that you are here in this present moment, and my wish for you in the year 2022 is that you choose to renew your sense of hope. Brighter times will always arrive after the darkness, even if right now, we can just about see the horizon.

New Year, same me, and for that I am grateful.