Friday, December 18, 2015

Celebrate Yourself this New Years

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
My mother has never liked New Year’s Eve.

Oh, she has no trouble with the fireworks, or eating a special meal, and she’s always happy for any excuse to have the family get together. But she feels like New Year’s exists solely to celebrate how fast time slips away from you, and while she accepts that she’d rather not think about it too hard.

While I understand where she’s coming from, I’ve always been more philosophical about it. I try to see the holiday not so much as a celebration of time lost as a chance to sit back and reflect on where I am after the year that’s past, and if I want to keep going in that same direction. Admittedly, that’s not really celebration material, but it’s a nice opportunity to pause and reflect.

And that doesn’t mean you can’t party. Even if you don’t want to celebrate the time that’s past, celebrate everything you’ve accomplished. It doesn’t have to be big, it just has to be something you can look back on and feel good about. You don’t have to compare your accomplishments to anyone else – whatever you’ve done is worth appreciating if you feel like it is.

If it’s been a tough year, celebrate the fact that you made it through without breaking down or attacking people with a chair. Yes, 2015 might have been a miserable time for you, but the fact that it’s behind you means that it didn’t win. You were strong enough to get through whatever happened, and if that doesn’t deserve a few fireworks in your honor than frankly I don’t know what does.

I know some people see the new year as a time of hope, imagining that what's coming will be better than what's already happened, but it's important not to just sit back and wait for some picture in your head to materialize. Not that you can't imagine better things are coming – if 2015 was terrible for you, you almost have to in order to avoid going crazy – but you're probably going to have to give that hope a little help. Do what you can to make things better today, whether it's taking better care of your health, being kinder to yourself, or finally ending a toxic relationship.

Even if it's just a first step, taking action now will make you feel more in control of your life and may actually even increase that sense of optimism. More importantly, the start of a new year isn't the only time you can make positive changes in your life – if you're not ready to tackle everything now, just pick one thing and work on it. When you feel you've got a handle on it, move onto the next thing, no matter when it is. March or May or August or whenever is still the perfect time to celebrate the hope of a brighter future.

Any time is also a perfect time to celebrate you, no matter what the reason. So when you see those fireworks, or listen to the people cheer, tell yourself they're not for some set of numbers on a calendar. They're all for you.