Usually, when the new year comes around, I feel an immediate change in my mood. The last year is behind me, and the potential of the new year is ahead. This year, though, as soon as the date changed over to 2018, I had this abrupt sense of reality. It felt like all of the intentions and all of the resolutions of yesteryear were to no avail, and all the positive thinking in the world was not going to get me where I need to go.
It’s been a bit of a downer, in a way, but on the other hand, I think this is probably one of the most promising changeovers I’ve ever experienced. Because while lacking a buoyant sense of optimism feel strange and out of place, the feeling of stark realism give me more hope for my actual future.
I have a lot to do this year. I have a lot of important decisions to make, and I have a lot of momentous steps ahead of me. My writing has shifted to a more intentional direction, with the emphasis on hard work and personal responsibility, and worrying less about what others are doing, than what I’m up to. And my overall worldview has shifted from one that was punctuated with spurts of wishful thinking and visualization interspersing long periods of frittering away my precious time… to dealing with reality as it is, and taking steps to substantively alter it in the direction I desire.
When I think of all the time I spent in the past, just thinking about how I wanted things to be, instead of actually doing something concrete about it, I cringe. Because for all of its ability to make me feel differently, visualization doesn’t help at all if I don’t combine it with actual work. And it’s the work that I’m focused on for this year.
So, I have no over-arching resolutions for this year, no list of things I’d like to do, dreams, visions, big picture blueprints from my future success. What I have now – and this is much more hopeful – is a long list of things I know I need to do, in the order that I need to do them, and a structure to my life that will allow me to actually get them done.
So while this new year maybe a little little more muted than years gone by, it’s probably one of the most hopeful ones I’ve had. A life well-lived takes a lot of work. And I’m worker, so that is definitely in my favor. Rather than hoping, wishing, praying, and visualizing for a changed life, I’m just getting down to the business of doing what needs to be done, and slogging through the boring, challenging, frustrating, demoralizing stuff that inevitably comes with any kind of substantial change.
It’s a new year, and I have a new outlook. It’s the best one I can possibly imagine for myself.
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