MSEJ February 2018 - Page 26

steps. It felt like there was too much at stake, like I could ruin a whole year’s worth of potential if I took the wrong first step.

As I grew older and read more widely, I tried dozens of strategies to combat my New Year’s angst. I tried abandoning resolutions altogether, but eventually caved to creating a few in my mind, if not out loud, to the same unsatisfactory end. I tried losing the list, and instead distilled my thoughts, hopes, and plans for the year down to a single, specific word. I spent more time trying to figure out the “right” word than I plan to admit here… It felt like that one word was going to destine or doom me.

Thirty was the first year that I didn’t balk at the idea of the New Year.

I stared it down, opened the door to let it in, and let the old year know exactly how I felt about it as it left. There may have been some choice language involved.

That year, I realized that it wasn’t just the idea of a new year and change that had me running scared, though they weren’t helping matters. It was the timing of it all.

January is a hard month. Many of us have just come off of a month of celebrations, get-togethers, family gatherings, road trips, and one-last-thing before the year is over. We’re tired, we’re foggy, we don’t know where in the heck we put our toothbrushes… and we’re also making major life-focus choices?

Something there just doesn’t add up.

Why would we make and stick to choices that we haven’t had the time and space to fully sort out? How can you fully commit to something you’ve set out to do without enough sleep and time to figure out a plan that involves more than “Just do it”?

My mother always said one of her responsibilities as a parent was to make sure she didn't set me up for failure. To be fair, failure is a crucial part of growing up, and I had plenty. What she meant was that she wouldn’t set expectations for me that weren't in line with reality.