This year, remember to Carpe Diem

Carol Ann Conover
She Said by Alex Nelson

Maybe the thing about New Year’s is that people seem more comfortable with deciding to make better decisions, to let go of past pains, redefine how close to their lives negativity is permitted to get. It’s a mass scale wiping-clean of the slate. It’s more palatable to our sensibilities to rage, rage into that good night with our best foot forward. Because, well, everyone is doing it.

Promises, promises.

Promises, promises.

On the mark of the New Year, we’ll strut around unabashedly airing our mistakes and failures and share our private itinerary for self-betterment with strangers, the world, and all of Facebookdom. But after all the confetti has fluttered to the ground, we retreat back into ourselves, maybe tend back toward old habits, trapping ourselves once again into terminal comfort zones. Perhaps all that smack talk of resolution is what is meant by pomp and circumstance, after all.

We all know the unspoken things we see in ourselves and in others. Many of us will say we’re going to do this or that, but we may fall short of our intent and where upon the stroke of midnight we were so eagerly transparent in our humanness, we then shy away from the scrutiny and judgement that’s just waiting for those champagne bubbles to go flat.

We even memes about it how we already know going in that resolutions won’t stick, and what is a meme but our leaky subconscious passively putting out there the thing most of us mean to say but avoid in polite conversation. Why is it more ok on January 1st to admit that we’ve maybe not gotten it all right? Say out loud that we want to do better? Forgive ourselves and step forward into a new version of a better self? Why are we so afraid to try transformation on any other day?

That arbitrary number on the calendar we keep changes a digit on a much more tangible daily scale that invites change than it does in the unseen banner of Big Time, in those four yearly digits that loom invisibly over us; for some pressing them down as if gravity hits them differently, and for others time is truly an enrichment in growth, an adventure that they embrace. Even so, nobody is perfect and there’s always room for improvement.

If you’re late like me in wanting to tick a bunch of stuff off your checklist (or inner guilt list) and you’d hoped to have had every room just so before the ball drops, floor swept, office organized and clutter-free, to give your life a shiny scrub of what you wish it looked liked every day to yourself and to others, then I give you permission to just punch out for now and relax.

Do whatever you feel like, or do a whole bunch of nothing and give yourself a damn break. Pour yourself a glass of wine, slice those yummy cheeses you thought you’d put out for the company you know isn’t coming, only because you hadn’t really gotten it together enough to invite anyone into your perpetual untidiness. It really is ok if the signs of working from home are spread all over the living room, that there are make-up smears around the sink and un-vacuumed pet hair on the ottoman

It’s all possible with just one decision coupled with action that brings it to life. Do it once and then do it again. Or don’t. It’s your day, too, dammit. It really can be the way you want it. I don’t need for the year to turn in order to feel I can love myself, or try better to do so. And neither do you.

You want to be a more patient person? Start with yourself. You’re with you all the time. You’re actually the person you’re closest to. So give yourself a break. I didn’t get it all done, and so what? I did Skype with my darling best friend in Fort Lauderdale, was treated to the most amazing fashion show and got to share smiles with faces that are dear to me. That is a good thing. I’ll never regret that I didn’t clean the stove in order to live that moment.
I sat and pet both my animals for, I’d say a solid 30 minutes today, too. That was nice. I’ll do what I can today. And I’ll do more tomorrow. But I will enjoy my minutes. And I will be kind to me. And I will make my world the way I want it with all the things that are in my power to do.
Tomorrow is still just a day away from today, even though separated by the changing of a digit from 5 to 6. Big whoop. We flipped a number on another year and hung a new calendar…but what did you do with you day?

Maybe we think about time as only being significant on a yearly scale…like it’s a hallmark of celebration, and yeah, it’s cool and all to talk about the year past as it will go down in history to be gazed back upon and studied, but ask me what I see myself doing in 5 years, I’d laugh at you. You think I have 2020 vision or something? Seems to me, the hyper-focus on the year increment of change and reflection is a waste of your days. The saying is Carpe Diem for a reason. A day can feel a year sometimes and you can live a lifetime in a single moment. Sunrises and sunset are perfect times for reflection and you get one of those every day.

Take it easy on yourself.  Take a nature appreciation break. We all need to realize that each of us is merely one of these strange beings in skin-coated vessels that do the most amazing array of odd and inexplicable things. Each of us has this oddness common and are operating these bodies on a huge chunk of rock that it amazingly hurtling through the cosmos in a universe in which we’re just a speck of stardust. So what’s it all for? All the stress, the worry, the guilt, the self-crucifixion, the ugliness of mind and heart? Just, why?

Decide now on the precipice of 2016 not to let yourself fall into thinking that vital and heartfelt change is only possible at the turn of year. If you miss the curve on New Year’s and don’t get it right out of the gate, then you have permission to be a kinder, better you on January 2. Or 3rd. Or February 8th or any damn day you want to, if that is in fact what you want to do. When is the last time you gave yourself permission rather than derision to make a mistake? Do it for auld lang syne.

So, Happy New year to you! And Happy New Day, too. I think you should fill it with your best intentions and best effort; all that good stuff you think about doing and being. And be a little more understanding that those around you are all trying to figure it out and get it right, too, and acknowledge that their journey is not the same as yours, no matter how close the relationship. I believe any day’s a good day to begin, but who cares what I think?

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