Thursday, January 24, 2013

times they are a changin

I’m not usually a fan of declaring New Year’s resolutions. I feel like people more often then not announce their list of life changing resolutions on the first of January (many of them referencing alcohol and the moderation they hope to embody) only to just shift back to their original habits by the first of February. That being said, I do think that every once in a while we should reflect on our lives and look at what there is in it that makes us happy, what makes us sad, where our stress comes from, and our happiness? If there are changes to be made, then incorporate them slowly—change one element of your life, once that has become habit, alter another element, and so on.

My resolution is not one of physique or consumption—I have already changed these elements of my life, and although they are not perfect they are not the new change for the New Year. Instead I am focusing on my mentality, the way I handle different situations, and the ways in which I deal with change.

Change is a funny thing. It can be gradual—where, in the middle of it, you don’t even realize it’s happening until you reflect back on where you were before. Or it can be drastic and life changing, where you would have to be blind or dumb not to realize that something just happened. This sort of change is the one that most people focus on, fear, and avoid at all costs. The end of a relationship, a move to a new city, state, or country, the loss of a loved one, or starting all over with a new job, these are all things that cause pain, uncertainty, and trepidation.

But sometimes it’s the gradual changes that we should be more aware of. The gradual diminishing of conversation and interaction between friends, the drifting apart of loved ones, but also the systematic building of strength as you work out, the piecemeal revelations of your self.

Over Christmas these two types of change were combined into one epic, awful relationship explosion. Simultaneously everything changed and yet there has been a gradual effort of rebuilding what once was. And it’s making me appreciate the little things that had previously gone unnoticed. The way one doesn’t notice as one builds trust and comfort in a relationship. The way in which, if not careful, two people can gradually take each other for granted. The fact that, even if we think we do, in our twenties most of us don’t really know what we want and need in our lives. And that we sometimes overcomplicate it through our ceaseless need to share our lives with another. Even more so that it is completely worth it to do so, it is worth the possibility of a break up that a relationship brings. 

But sometimes the end is at the back of your mind, and you don’t know how to make it go away. You don’t know how to handle the change that a break up brings, the open ended possibilities, the self-reliance and lack of commitment to another when making choices. When the future has always included another in your mind, what do you do when that other is no longer? Whether it be a significant other, a family member, or a good friend, this absence can be extremely profound.

Even if that absence is temporary—perhaps you are travelling alone, rather than with a friend, now you can do whatever it is that You want without having to compromise with another. Does this excite you? Or does it make you nervous; do you not know what to do?

One thing about this upcoming year is for certain: I will be travelling to Europe for the first time, and I will be alone for the first three weeks of my trip. I hope to have friends join me after those three weeks, but that isn’t even for sure. What will I do when I land in the airport, don’t speak the language and have no idea where I am? I can speculate about what I will do, but the only thing for sure is that when I get there, something will be done. I need to take comfort in the fact that I am strong and independent, and that when I make it to Rome I will be able to stand on my own two feet. There is a lot of time between now and then, so who knows what will happen, and I think that the best thing to do is to just trust myself.

My New Year’s resolution, then, can be seen to be to trust myself. To do what I do and know that it’s what I do, so have fun while doing it. This resolution isn’t a fad, it’s not me committing to some stupid diet or crazy exercise program, it’s a fundamental mental revaluation of my self, and I will commit to it. 

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