There is something about having your boots strapped in, the road stretched before you, and your left foot in front of your right, moving forward! Especially when the journey is still minted fresh and your strength is full. New Beginnings—in this case—the New Year is a good time to dream and move, to think and act. It also feels much like a second chance. Like: last year was tough? Here’s a new slate, start again. Of course, I have lived through enough mocking years to justify a loss of optimism.
I know from experience that there are years that throw you against a wall—skin torn, bones shifted from your joints. And there are years that feel like an endless marathon, with you out of breath, chasing and chasing: without respite and without a finish line. To shrug at the New Year with indifference is practical, almost self preservatory. Still! I love the New Year with all its half-baked, thoughtless projections, the whitewashed resolutions we make knowing that we’d default by February, the congratulatory messages we send for being alive to witness another Jan. 1, as if life is a promise any of us can keep. I love the fact that we try. That we give ourselves permission to get up or to keep moving, and regardless of our religious orientation or absence of it, I like that the New Year is a lot like having faith.
Faith, because that is what it takes to dream even when the previous years had wanted to swallow you whole. I remember the year I wanted to die. And the years from my childhood that I still want to erase. Then, there are three consecutive years from my twenties that I have almost no memory of, even Facebook posts and reminders from that time feel like a dream, as if that whole part of my life was a lie. In this sense, what I remember is that I do not really remember those years. It is strange, I know, but my point is: I understand. Sometimes we zombie through the days, numb with disappointments, failures, fear or even the most wretched of them all, boredom! So, I get it. This journey, it can be rough, I understand.
Yet! I love the New Year. Specifically, I love the ring of 2020, even the way it sounds, full and complete, like a year that has made up its mind. I love the fact that I think that this is the year for work. Mad, considering our hands are sunk deep in dirt already, sowing relentlessly into this unsatiated earth, so then, maybe I think 2020 is the year for more work, which is even madder, but! I love it! I love that we can dream and move towards something that is bigger than ourselves, that we are not just strutting about the aisles of shopping malls, offering up credit cards for five minutes of happiness. I love that we too can be the prize, the product; that we can be both the bringer of spoils and the thing that is brought to the table.
I think—in an offhanded, dreamy and totally unreliable way—that 2020 will show kindness to the work, to the labourers, to the quiet but relentless ‘endurers.’ Like Peter, casting his net to fish after an empty night. This may sound like a motivational script, forgive! But also, push forward, cliché and all.
My friend asked me what I would label the year and I said: Do the damn work! Break the earth, till the soil, get your hands dirty. Sow! And no, this is not merely about deadlines, though personal milestones are great for climbing out of complacency and doing great stuff! but it is also about those broken parts of ourselves that we left untended because we are busy. That friendship that requires forgiveness; the spouse and kids paling in the background of activities, that unyielding lower back pain. Face it. The is your life: do the damn work!
Most times the work is ugly and messy. It requires spine, confidence, self-hype, especially on days you don’t want to get out of bed. And sometimes, it is not that we are lazy, it is that we are tired, uninspired, distracted. Still, face the work, warts and all. Keep the task in mind and heart. Find a way to inch closer, the goal is not perfection, it is to give yourself to the work. That is it. 2020! Do the work! Face your life! Yes, and Amen!
Happy New Year.