It's that time of year when we feel a sense of winding down. One calendar ends and we anticipate, often with a sense of relief, the start of something new. But really, isn't it just a new calendar -- out with that old and in with that new? Is there really such a shift from December 31st to January 1st? What has actually changed? What is actually beginning? Why is this new month so much more significant than the start of any other month? We celebrate the fading of one year and the start of a new one -- it's the pinnacle of the rushed and feverish holiday season. New Year's Eve is the star on top of the annual tree. We close our eyes and count down the seconds until it's New Year's Day. Let us begin again.
I am a big believer in reflection. It's important to take stock of where we are now in comparison to where we have come from or where we might go next. But as I have learned from yoga, nothing much matters besides now. Learn from the past, yes, and use it to project a bright future, but if I'm not cherishing this moment, what's the point? Human beings are actually quite fond of this question -- what is the point? Why are we all here, what's the meaning of any of this? This is part of the reason we become obsessed with history and the boomerang effect of the future. And when it comes to the start of a new year, we humans love nothing more than to stop, really stop, and decide that we're going to resolve to change each and every unfortunate behavior or fix every broken run in our figurative ladders by declaring that, starting January 1st, we will do x, y, and z differently. We will eat better, work out more, finish a project, reach a goal, etc. As someone who regularly practices yoga four to seven days any given week, there is absolutely no more annoying time of year to get on my mat than the first two or three weeks in January when classes become overrun with people who have added "Try yoga" to their list of New Year's To Do list. I breath a sigh of relief when February rolls around and class sizes become more manageable and are comprised of people who are there to practice because it's what they do, not what they think they should be doing.
I've never been a big fan of New Year's Resolutions because they are almost assuredly going to fade into a forgotten sphere until the anxiety of another new calendar rears its ugly head during the next holiday season. What about the meantime? What about all of those wasted months when we don't eat well or exercise or work towards goals? What about those months when newly purchased yoga mats stay rolled up and ignored? Isn't it better to decide to do things because you want to do them, not because there's a social cue for you to declare you're making a change?
All that said, I did actually make a New Year's Resolution in 2011 to write every day, a goal that I achieved and then re-set for 2012 and again for 2013. But writing is also something I have a strong passion for and a long history of doing so using the start of a new calendar gave each of these blog projects a framework and an easy accountability. Did I write today? Well, check and see. Would I have been as successful doing this project without the internet and Facebook and Blogger to aid me? I honestly don't know. But I am a woman of my word, so when I say I will do something, I do it. This, I resolve. Maybe New Year's Resolutions work like this for other people, too. But most people I know make their list, check it twice, and forget about it in less than a fortnight.
Yes, 2012 is ending, but it's simply a benchmark in a long and hilly timeline. Make resolutions if they help you refine your ideal self for the coming year, but think about this, also: resolve to be your best self in every moment that's to come. It's a lofty goal and it might not be possible, but the higher you aim, the more likely you'll be to succeed. That might even mean I'll see you roll out your mat next to mine for the first few weeks in January and then disappear until 2014, and that's OK as long as you take the time to appreciate the efforts you make every day to achieve your fullest expression of every pose, both on and off your mat.