At this time of the year, you’ll see people making all kinds of lofty declarations about the things they’ll accomplish in the next year. You’ll see lists of “Things to Do,” plastered everywhere and hear about how someone will quit smoking next year, another will propose, another will finally make it big, and another will get out of debt. What are your resolutions they’ll ask.
More than any other time of the year, the expectation is most tangible and hope is felt in many more of our conversations. The turning of that one digit from 7 to 8 is the magical platform which we hope will propel us into a future we have yet to experience. And as often as I have counted myself among the masses and created lists, even achieving many of my goals, I wonder if there are more of us out there who feel a little differently about the coming year. Maybe you’re apathetic about it all and you’ve never cared, but I’m betting that there are more than a few of us who are scared.
Inasmuch as the New Year symbolizes a fresh start or represents a flag being planted in the ground, it can also represent the start of another test, the beginning of another year of grueling endurance. When life has become overwhelming and it’s no longer a fight for our dreams but a fight for survival, we start making fewer goals and more strategies of retreat.
Aspects of our lives which might normally be a simple weakness start feeling like massive insurmountable mountains. They loom over us as a source of pain and doubt. It attacks our sense of purpose, obliterates our regard for identity, and strips us of our ambition to make tomorrow better than today.
Until now I’ve made the assumption that those who didn’t make goals for themselves were just lazy. And yes, this is still true for many, but there’s another group of people, a people of scars and betrayal, of loss and failure that look to the next year with trembling hearts.
“Unless I can find something else, 2018 is another year I’ll have to work at a place I despise, a place where I know where I don’t belong. But I’m scared. ”
“I know this relationship is poisonous to me but we’ve been together for so long and I’m scared what it’ll be like without them.”
“I was barely able to feed my family of three, but we have a baby coming and I don’t know what we’re going to do. I’m so scared.”
“I have to move to a place where I don’t know a single soul. I’m scared.”
“I’m so scared I’ll grow old and die alone. Maybe I should just give up. Time obviously isn’t on my side.”
It’s not about whether or not being scared can be justified or finding out whether its our laziness disguised as fear. What’s important isn’t following the New Year’s Resolution craze or filling our minds with all sorts of goals, tasks, and fantasies.
The New Year, no, tomorrow is to remain standing. You don’t have to be standing on a pile of cash or in a 2 garage home. You don’t have to be standing with a husband or wife beside you or a child in your hands. You don’t have to be standing with the lights on or on a platform. You don’t have to be standing where you’re standing now or standing with a smile on your face. But you DO have to be standing.
Even if your arms of shaking and your hands are trembling. Even if tears are rolling down your cheeks and your heart aches. Even if your family is hurting and mind is whirling. Even if nothing is working you must be standing. The New Year might not be one that we imagine, but it will not be one where we lose.
The only resolution that we need is the resolution to face fear and to wrestle it. The only promise we need to make to ourselves and those we love is to not give up. And the funny thing about life is that once we conquer fear, victories start to happen. Life begins to click. Stress begins to subside and peace begins to rise.
Opportunities start to appear and even luck makes an appearance. But we have to be in a place where we’re not constantly overcome by our worrying. If we do this, come next year this time, we’ll look back and think to ourselves, “Wow, that was a tough but rewarding year. 2019, I’m scared, but I’m ready for you.”