New Year is my favorite holiday. I know, it’s weird. “What about Christmas? What about the 4th of July? What about Easter?” I hear you all yelling. And those are all great and fine in their own ways. However, my favorite holiday has always been and will always be New Year.
Why do I love New Year so much?
Because I, even after the last couple of years, still love the romanticized idea of starting anew. I love setting goals; I love reorienting myself; I love wiping the metaphorical slate clean.
Now, there are things about New Year that are not so great: the barrage of toxic diet culture ads, the “new year, new me” philosophy that I think can get a little out of hand, creating the expectation that you need to totally reinvent yourself every year, not to mention the pressure of setting arguably too lofty resolutions.
And I’m going to pause here because I want to say that even though I love New Year, I really don’t like the word “resolution.” It means to find an answer or solution to a problem, and I don’t want to promote the idea that people need to think they are a problem to be solved. Unless you want to set some reading resolutions. That’s fine. Okay, end pause.
I like to use the word “reorient” or “refocus.” What do I want to guide myself toward in the New Year? And yes, there might be some change that happens, but it’s now on my terms. And some changes can be good.
I’ve kept a journal since I was in first grade. Not always super consistently, but I have a LOT of old journals, and in one of my first-grade journals, I wrote:
“I really hope they make going to the doctor illegal.”
I’m happy my views on doctors and medicine have changed. But later, in a journal from 6th grade or so, I wrote (edits are there to keep names private and also for clarification):
“I’m really sad [that] I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. [Friend A] wants to be a vet[erinarian] and [Friend B] wants to be famous. I don’t want to be anything. I just like reading, writing, and dinosaurs.”
Anyone who knows me, even a little bit, will look at that sentence and think, “Well, Brystan hasn’t changed,” and they wouldn’t be completely wrong.
I like to think that I am something. I’m a lot of things actually: a partner, a sister, a friend, a librarian. But I also still really love reading, writing, and dinosaurs. Like… a lot.
In a journal entry from a journal I kept in college, I wrote:
“This is the year I’m going to get a tattoo.”
I still don’t have any tattoos.
Not all goals get met.
But because of journaling, I have a record. I can go back and look at goals I’ve set, goals I’ve made, goals I have not met (maybe this year will be the year I get a tattoo), how I’ve changed, and how much I’ve stayed the same. It’s been a lovely constant in my life and one that I love to revisit each new year. It has also been an excellent way to process all of the thoughts and feelings from the last couple of years.
So, whether you want to start a journaling practice or want to set some goals for the year, you should be able to find some resources on this list: