New year, new stuff, right? That's how it works, right? We've all seen it before. All those Facebook posts of "new year, new me," and everyone posting about their new years' resolutions (especially those horrible "geek" ones about desktop resolutions. cringe). All the drunken boasting around the midnight braai on new years eve, "I'm gonna go to gym, I'm gonna stop smoking, I'm gonna stop drinking."
As a kid I always admired people saying things like this. I mean, it all sounds good, right? Good on you for doing it, I thought. As I got older (and some would say more cynical or even realistic) though I started thinking otherwise. I think it was especially around the time when my depression was at its most severe that I really didn't buy into it.
What's the driving force behind these new years resolutions? Some might say positive change. Some might say new years bring fresh clean slates for us to build on top of. Wanna know what I think? Rubbish. The way I think of it, if you really wanted to make that change, if you really wanted to lose weight, if you really wanted to cut down on your smoking habits, if you really wanted to put down that bottle, what is stopping you from doing it now? Why do you have to wait for the alignment of the solar system to be at that specific point when some very old people decided that meant it was a new unit of time? When I put it like that, it sounds silly, doesn't it? That's what new years are.
Time is an experience. If you look at a year on another planet on our solar system, like Venus for example, a single year (that is, the time it takes to complete a single orbit around the sun) is 224.7 Earth days. Why don't we celebrate those years? We could have based our calendar off of anything, like on full moons or tidal periods or even how long it takes a single object that we could create to make a full rotation.
Now let's look at how long a day is on Venus, which is 116 days 18 hours. Venus doesn't even experience 2 full Venus days in a single Venus year. Suddenly a year is a lot less significant, isn't it?
Now understand with me saying all of this I'm not trying to harsh anyone's mellow or saying they're wrong in making these new years resolutions. There are lots of people that actually make them work, but these sorts of people aren't the same ones sitting around a braai trying to one up each other on what they're going to accomplish. They've set goals, and that is the important bit. Their period for their goal happens to coincide with our calendar. They've made the decision that they want to accomplish something because it's something they want to do, not because everyone makes a big deal about it and they can't look like they don't have their life together.
I'm sure a lot of this isn't really news and that lots of people have come to the same conclusion in their lives and maybe I'm just an echo for those people, but maybe someone who hasn't thought of it reads it and it changes the way they think. That's my end goal for this post. I don't want people to think like me, I just want people to think.
So basically, TL;DR: if it's really that important, why wait for a specific day on a calendar to make a change? If it's that important to you, then you already have the motivation you need to get you started on it. If not, then think about it. What's actually causing you to think you need to make that change? Maybe you should start there first. Take a step back and reevaluate your situation objectively. Talk it out with people. Everyone has stuff, but other people are usually better at thinking logically about your stuff.
And to wrap it all up, I'm going to say one of my favourite sayings: bad shit happens. It doesn't look at who you are and say "yeah, I'm gonna screw up your day." It doesn't look at a calendar and have a little countdown for that perfect time when everything was going well for you and decide that it has to strike then. It doesn't kick you when you're down because you're down. Sometimes, bad shit just happens. It doesn't discriminate and it doesn't have favourites (and if you think you're one of its favourites, maybe your attitude is the problem). So don't let it stop you. Sometimes, there's just no possible way for you to see something coming and prepare for it or dodge it, so you need to be able to take it on the chin and carry on. Stick to your goals, and stick to your attitude, and maybe things won't be so bad (YMMV ;)