Well friends, here we are, not much further than a few turns of the dial until another year arrives and we’ve made it through the holidays!
A lot of people look at the New Year as an opportunity for enormous growth, for change, for becoming whoever it is they thought they wanted to become the year before but didn’t. I once heard it described as one big “Do over”, which is a rather fanciful way of looking at it, don’t you think? Especially if the previous year didn’t quite work out like you planned…
Then, of course, there are the bah-humbuggers who scoff at the idea of making these silly little resolutions, usually by posting “In 2016, I’m still going to be the same asshole I was in 2015” memes on Facebook or otherwise poo-pooing all that nonsense. They know there’s absolutely no point in it because they also know that by about Week 3 things will inevitably go south, at which time the gym that will continue getting their membership fees for the rest of the year will rejoice while they will continue muddling along…until next year, perhaps.
They know – they’ve tried.
For myself this year, rather than come up with some grand plan such as swearing or declaring I’m going to finally lose that pesky extra 20 pounds (’cause I am, damnit!), I’m going to try something new, like the idea in the meme I’ve included here. It feels refreshing to me that I don’t need to expect some ginormous transformation from myself into something else, which, indeed, feels like carrying around a boulder so massive the only reasonable choice – what’re you, crazy?! – is to drop it.
I remember when I was a kid and I had distinct periods of wishing I could run away to some place else and **poof!** become somebody else entirely – a whole new me, the way I always wanted me to be. Alluring, adorable, irresistible, and oh so talented and cool, a star hovering above all in the junior high firmament. I carried that feeling right along with me into adulthood, and tried using alcohol to make it go away. It took me a long, long time to accept that it wasn’t working for me, neigh – wasn’t, couldn’t, didn’t, never will work for me.
Changing that became a journey of its own, and one that did not involve becoming a new version of the old scene. (Because what such a transformation would amount to is the affirmation that there was always something fundamentally wrong with me to begin with. Thus, I would still be the same asshole I always was, too – just not a drunk asshole, and I think that’s an important distinction.) Like almost all other change, it was a daily, incrementally concerted effort which involved letting go of old beliefs about myself and what alcohol woulda/shoulda/coulda been for me, and then allowing that whitespace to be filled up by the reality of my Sober Self.
Among other things, what it mainly involved was being open to the idea that I was capable of real, lasting sobriety – something I’d previously thought impossible – and I’ve come to be reminded of that feeling over the past year, of being…open. Being open to learn new things, have new experiences, get to know or reconnect with people in more than a passing way, being grateful for what I have and what is. Getting out of my “comfort zone” and taking risks, even if compared to, say, base jumping off of El Capitan, they’re likely to be very, very small.
For someone whose natural inclination is to hang out snuggled in my cozy little clamshell, that’s no small feat! More importantly, though, I know from my experiences with getting sober that being open, or at the very least developing a willingness to be open, means two things: A). I will be scared to death at times, because exposing my soft little clammy underbelly will mean that I’ll be vulnerable, and what am I, crazy?! And 2). even if it’s hard, whatever comes from it will ultimately be good.
So, all things being equal, and New Year’s Eve in reality just being one (more) big drinking opportunity we can all avoid like the plague in our own, fun ways – my darling hubby and I are going to a tasty burger joint and a movie this evening, after which we’ll arrive home and wait until 12:01 to go outside and bang on pots and pans in our deathly quiet neighborhood – what whitespace might you open up to tomorrow?