People say, the older you get the more unbearable the holidays and new year become, as if bitterness is a right of passage towards maturity. I prefer to describe it as an anxiety, similar to a student’s primal fear of deadlines. Except unlike academics, living in your shoes has none of the prescribed rules and agendas (no chance in hell for cramming either!). There is only you, and somehow you’re failing yourself in every milestone you have set.
Strictly speaking, all our new year resolutions are simple, and the same. We just want things to get better—for real. And we’re constantly looking for a readiness to shut down and restart, turning our spirits back up like a light bulb.
But then, you think about all those ideas you kept tabs on; it sickens you that nothing came of it, other than a waste of your time and energy. You think about all the dreams you never finished, then deliberate which do you save, and which do you permanently trash. You suddenly realized you left too many projects open, torn between the impulse to force quit everything, and fear of losing something important. There are too many things stored in your head, and you just want more space. You’ve left yourself running for too long.
Wisdom from the digital age preaches the importance—no, necessity—of draining out, and restarting everything. But we’re not technology, aren’t we? We’re all human, and every process of letting go, giving in and change is terribly felt in all our senses.
The robot uber-lords in nightmares and Hollywood hits tell you, anything that falters is inefficient; those with a ruthless pace to the target are the only ones fit to survive. The simplicity of that scares you, because you can’t even get yourself ready. There are still resolutions left unachieved, too many things not said and done in time. You’re never ready, ever.
But then again, what’s the point of a new beginning without some old business to toss? What magic is left from fireworks without the darkness of midnight? Yes, I see you roll your eyes at that vague optimism.
Scoff all you want, but don’t deny it: Nothing get’s you more worked up than that good cliff-hanger at the end of an episode, so you have to have to stick around for the next one. Those ghost stories you secretly crave wouldn’t be the same without some grotesque past linked to the haunting, and it must be exorcised! And you’ve been taught, back in the uni’ days, how history never stops being written even in the face of (many) impending doom.
Yes, the year before wasn’t quite what we hoped for, and the unknown ahead creates heaviness at the pit of your insides. Regardless, you will count your blessings, celebrate your small accomplishments, and be thankful. Yet above all, somehow, you will find the strength to also count your regrets, recall each mistake and re-visit disappointments. Because somewhere in that chaos was unhappiness so tangible, you couldn’t help but grow thicker skin. This is not drama. This is resolution, and how it adorns you like dress, or amour.
‘Because I’m not obsolete!’ you argue. ‘I’ve come this far…’
You think of the long days ahead, already a series of would-be possibilities and pitfalls mapped in your imaginings. You pray for luck, for love and strength; but you expect nothing. You know how this works; it’s never that easy. Yet, you begin as you wish.
‘Because dammit! I’m alive!’
Happy New Year to all! Go kick some ass on 2016!
(P.S: Even with nightmares, you always wake up flesh and bone. Also, humans always win against robots in the movies –HA!)
Story photos are courtesy of Norm Lee Photography.