I have been taking a break between Christmas and New Year, to spend time with family and friends who have been visiting. And as much as I should probably have found the time to write, having people round is pretty exhausting. It shouldn’t be, but somehow it is, because you feel like you have to be on your best behaviour all the time, when really all you want to do is stay in bed, all cosy in your pyjamas, and eat chocolate. And just when I thought I could do exactly that, I woke up this morning to the realisation that I had a whole pile of stuff that I probably should have done, and haven’t. But as a break from writing essays (and to further procrastinate doing more), I thought I’d write this. I hope you all had a peaceful and joy-filled Christmas and New Year.
I guess I should start by saying HAPPY NEW YEAR!! Welcome to 2017. A new year, and for many, an opportunity to truly make a new start, with New Year’s Resolutions, ambitions, hopes, and goals. Here’s to all of you who left the house yesterday with your yoga mat at 7 o’clock in the morning, to the men who arrived at the gym to find no free lockers, and no free exercise machines, to my Dad who will no doubt return from the supermarket in 10 minutes with bags full of kale, and courgettes – here comes the week of spiralised vegetable pasta and kale… Here’s to all of you who set a New Year’s Resolution, and an extra cheer to anyone who hasn’t already broken it.
But as much as I applaud the efforts of over half the population to make a change at the beginning of 2017, is the New Year really about losing weight, doing more exercise and restricting your calorie intake? Perhaps a new year is simply a flaw of the Gregorian calandrial system. In reality, a new yeaaaaaaaar is simply another day of another month. And as much as the 1st of January seems like a good time to set new goals and resolutions, it is just another day.
In the chaos that is life, it is hard to think of January 1st as just another day. We need a way to categorise time, to fit it into manageable chunks of 365 (or 6) days. If we just had endless days, we’d lose track of time altogether. Because as far as we know it, life is eternal. The universe will go on to infinity. Perhaps we see infinity as the number of stars in the sky, or the number of grains of sand on the sea shore. But if we tried hard enough, we could estimate a number for both of these. Infinity has no number because it has no limit. Inifinity is a concept over which no one can have control. And therefore it is a concept which is both scary and mind-boggling. But as human nature has progressed, we each grown a desire to know the limits, to be able to put our finger on concepts like infinity. Perhaps Pope Gregory XIII saw this, and found years as ways to cope with infinity, to categorise it, and to take control from the fear of the unknown. And as such, 435 years after the Gregorian Calendar was introduced, January 1st is the beginning of a new year -2017.
But just as infinity is organised into years, our lives are too. Perhaps we see each year as a new chapter in the book of life. And this is why I find it sad that so many people only remember to make a change on January 1st. If we only made a change at the beginning of each chapter, how boring would our book be? Our life would be predictable. The book would not be gripping. If we were reading it perhaps we would put it down. Because the best books are those that are unpredictable, those with unpredictable twists and turns, that delight, frighten and inspire. Each page is a new story in itself. And in the best books the reader will never know what effect the next word will have on how the story will play out.
So what am I saying? I am aware that I have probably confused you a lot..! Am I against making New Year’s Resolutions? No. Not at all. I make New Year’s Resolutions at the beginning of each New Year. Because a new year is like a chapter in a book. And when an author is writing a book, at the beginning of each chapter, they reflect on what they want the characters to achieve, each of their goals and aspirations. They decide how each character’s motive will impact on their actions over the course of the chapter. But we are both the authors of our own lives and we are the heroes of our own story. So at the beginning of this chapter, this year, be an author. Think about what you want to achieve this year, your goals, your resolutions. Think about your end goal, your life purpose, and how your actions this year are going to help you to achieve this.
But in the back of your mind remember this. January 1st 2017 is just another day in an infinity. Therefore, have courage to take your own decisions and make changes throughout the year. Because every second in life is like another word in your story. You can never tell what life has in store for you, and the greatest changes that we make in life come at unpredictable moments. Every day, every second we can choose to make a change for the better, and give our story the twist that it needs to propel the action forward and to make it the compelling read that forms an integral part of all the best novels.
So my New Year’s Hope this year is that you make your chapter gripping. Don’t just make a change to the way you live your life this week, but decide to make a change each day. It doesn’t have to be a great change. Maybe just ‘today I’m going to smile more.’ But one action that you make can have a lifetime of effects.
For many, the New Year symbolises an unmatchable hope for the future. But it is just another day. And the dawn of each and every day brings equal hope. We never know which change we make will be the one that will twist our story for the better, but I can bet you that it won’t always be the change you make at the beginning of the chapter, at the beginning of the year, but the one that comes on an unpredictable page, on an unpredictable day. In the end, your book of life will be one in an infinite library of infinity. So make your little part of infinity count. Take every second, every word and relish it. Have courage, faith and make changes each and every day, even when you are afraid to do so, and you will live your life to its full capacity. You never know – perhaps your story will be read for eternity.