The New Year is rapidly descending upon us and I know that many of us are more than happy to be rid of 2016. This year has brought such strife – political unrest, death of beloved celebrities, economic woes, and on and on. Ah yes, the New Year has to be better, right?
Well, sure, but it isn’t going to happen all by itself.
I was reminded of this as I sat pouting at home on Sunday night, throwing myself a pretty significant pity party.
You see, it was my 50th birthday. A milestone that for many brings lots of hoopla and festivity, but for me, it didn’t.
Now don’t get me wrong. Friends and family all wished me a happy birthday, I am well and employed – all of things not to be taken for granted -but somehow it didn’t feel like “enough”. Even though I have never really done much for my birthday, even though I have learned throughout the years that trying to do something during the holidays is, to say the least, challenging, it still felt lonely and sad knowing there wasn’t a big party waiting for me or a special someone to make a big fuss over my special day.
Oh, woe is me!
After I was able to drag my 2-year-old-child self out of the kicking and screaming tantrum I was having, I realized that nothing happens in a vacuum and I had created just such a vacuum.
The reality is that most people in my immediate circle had no idea it was my birthday let alone that it was my 50th. I suppose this is a result of a childhood spent feeling like my birthday was more of a burden than a celebration; an inconvenience rather than something to look forward to. So I kept this tidbit of knowledge to myself and would casually toss it out in random conversations hoping against hope that someone would pick up on my desire to have a party and run with it.
Shocker! They didn’t.
Much as I would like for people to know my inmost desires without my saying a word, they simply do not. And unlike the forever popular romantic comedies, there rarely is a best friend or random stranger to provide this information to my loved ones for me. I have to actually open my mouth and express my wishes for people to hear me and act.
This is a difficult lesson for me because I have always been a people pleaser. The daughter of an abusive alcoholic, I have always worked hard to make sure that everyone else is taken care of and put my own needs and wants aside. My motto has always been the less you notice my presence, the less likely it is that I’m going to be hurt. And sure, that keeps new wounds from being inflicted – or at least limits the number significantly, but it also builds a wall so high that I end up feel lonely and slighted when I don’t to be center stage on these momentous occasions.
So what does this have to do with New Years?
Well, as I thought about this last night and this morning, I realized that each one of us has the opportunity not just at dawn of the new year, but every single day to dive in and create the life we want rather than wait for it to happen on its own – which, let’s be honest – means we’ll be waiting for a very, VERY long time.
We have to be willing to look at the life we feel we deserve or want and create a plan of action to obtain it, not just sit idly by and whine about how others are getting the achievements and fun that we want but have never been “lucky enough” to get. Does this mean we have to go through long, tedious hours of goal setting? Not necessarily, but there has to be some active participation on all of our parts for these things to occur.
None of us can change my health, physical abilities or our artistic abilities without making a decision to start lessons or spend more time practicing or working out and then actually acting on that decision.
None of us can start making an impact on children, homelessness, animal rights or whatever the passion is without carving out time to actually get involved somewhere and, as Ghandi stated, be the change we want to see in the world.
And none of us can create healthy, positive friendships that encourage things like birthday parties or support systems for those inevitable times of strife without actually stepping out into the world and start engaging with others in similar positive, loving ways. Sometimes this means reaching out to old friends, sometimes this means finding new friends, and sometimes this means seeking counseling or support to find healthy ways to engage to bring people into our lives that will be the blessings we need.
Going into this New Year and expecting it to be awesome just because it isn’t the current year is a recipe for certain failure. Things have to be put in place so a positive change actually happens. Am I suggesting that I’m joining yet another dating site? No, but I am saying that I am going to make a more focused effort to get out and participate more; to be more engaged in other people’s so they can be more engaged in mine.
How about you? What changes would you like in your life that you’ve been too fearful of making? The reality is that we only fail by not trying. Simply opening the door to a new challenge is success in and of itself.
I would love to hear what you are planning and maybe we can keep each other encouraged and motivated. Feel free to comment back with your thoughts, hopes and goals. I look forward to reading them all and walking with you every step of the way.
Join me! Dive in and let’s see what this New Year can bring!