As we ease into February and begin to forget about our January 2015 resolutions, I offer a look back at the past year and a different resolution to be made, after those of weight loss and habit-breaking are as distant as those Christmas cookies of 2014.
2014 was a difficult year. The world saw armies rise, families starve, and communities uprooted from land they had lived on for centuries. An average of 300 shootings occurred each day in the United States, resulting in injuries, hospitalizations, deaths, and jarring gaps in families and relationships. Human rights were called into question, marches were held, and protests were staged. 2014 was a year of loss. 2014 was a year of upheavals. 2014 was full of uncertainties.
As with any other year, we lost people of talent, beauty, and grace. 2014 shed light on the incapacitation of depression, from cases caused by bullying to that created from chronic and life altering illnesses. People who did not have the support they so very much needed chose what they felt was the only way out of that terrifying abyss, rocking their families and communities around them.
Not unlike those lost to battles of the mind and body, we also lost humanitarians, leaders, and voices of social change as casualties of very literal battles over changing politics, both at home and abroad.
Last year marked a year of radical change for North America when it came to social change. People in many states and provinces were given the right to marry whoever they so choose, allowing couples who loved each other across decades and beyond the intolerances of others to finally join each other in matrimony. People fought to support those most hard-hit by social inequities, exposing instances of horrible brutality as well as truly human moments of acceptance and love.
Numerous organizations of aid as well as extremely altruistic individuals formed refugee camps to feed, clothe, and shelter those fleeing from war-torn areas. We remembered soldiers, police officers, and firefighters by uniting under the need to demonstrate a recognition of valor, strength, and selflessness.
Moments of historical beauty were found, in dance, music, and countless sunrises and sunsets.
Many historical moments continued to be made, but millions more personal milestones occurred in each and every one of our lives: love, loss, achievements, moments of strife and agony.
So what does 2015 mean on a more personal level? A new year does not mean a new you. You are the same as you were in 2014, 2013, and the years before those. Some of us made the same resolutions, but we all continue to have the same daily problems. All of us continue to have cracks. Some of us have microscopic creases that travel in a maze of lines across our weather-beaten shells while others have fissures that alternate running deep and shallow through our very souls. We are all fighting a daily battle to maintain ourselves as a whole, with some more obvious than others.
Instead of partaking in the ritual New Year’s adoption of new habits, why not restructure this into a tradition of ritual abandonment? Leave the old to be open to the new, whatever that may be, wherever it may take you. Instead of piling on new habits, leave behind those dusty practices that you use just to get you through the day. Be open to what new experiences may occur around you and allow those to facilitate your change, whether it be physical, mental, or social.
A quote from the movie Interstellar aptly summarizes this idea in how to approach the remainder of 2015:
“The only way humans have figured out how to move forward is to leave something behind”
Leave your 2014 behind. Leave your resolutions of January 2015 behind. Make yourself available to what the rest of the year brings you and be a positive change for yourself and those around you.