I like New Year’s. A blank slate, a new start—those ideas appeal to me. Yes, I know New Year’s Day is just an arbitrary date on a calendar, but you have to draw the line somewhere. And I love drawing lines. I like putting things into neat little categories. Here and there. Then and now.
Last year and this year.
It’s a pretty well-held sentiment that last year was terrible. It’s nice to think we’re on the right side of the line between last year and this year.
Except, you know that whole “arbitrary date on the calendar” thing? That means last year was yesterday and this year is today, and most of the terrible stuff from 2016 didn’t just disappear at midnight. And, sure, it’s true every year that the whole world doesn’t change just because the calendar changed. It’s just, maybe most years we’re so caught up in our resolutions and our this will be my year declarations, that we’re blind to ongoing problems.
But the arrival of 2017 feels different.
I wanted everything to be okay as soon as the calendar changed to the new year. I wanted everything be okay because that’s how human beings are—we want to fix and heal and make it all better.
And it’s not all better. All the same problems are still here.
Now, lest you think I’m writing the biggest Unhappy New Year post ever, I’d like to say this: there is some solace to be found in accepting that things are the way they are. Not everything gets better. There isn’t always a silver lining. Sometimes your greatest goal isn’t improvement, but acceptance.
You’d think having a chronic condition like depression would have taught me a long time ago that some situations are ongoing and unsolvable. Yet somehow that was a lesson I never learned. I can’t explain why.
But seeing the whole world ripped apart in 2016, and understanding that we weren’t all fixed up just because it became 2017, that drove the message home: Some problems have no easy fix. Some things just suck.
And so, I think the wisdom to accept the deep flaws of the world is 2016’s gift. It’s not all better.
It just is what it is.
Wishing you a 2017 of acceptance,