Why I Think New Year’s Day is Like Going to a New School.

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I’ve experienced no less than 8 first days at a new school. (9 if I count that summer class at a community college.) It has made me a little cynical about fresh starts, but it has also made me really good at first days.

Being in the first day of the New Year, I picture myself on the very tip top of a green, green hill. Everything else expands out around me in a rolling landscape of swelling and declining mounds. I’m on the highest point, the hills behind me are the years past, and the hills in front are this upcoming year. From where I stand everything is small, and perfect. No blemishes, no rough patches. I know that’s not really the case but the New Year feeling makes it seem true.

Roaches-032 by Plbmak, on Flickr
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I see the first day of the year like the first day of school because of the feelings I get from both me. I get a sense of excitement that something really great is going to happen. It’s almost inexplicable, but it feels like there is someone tiny is sitting on the base of my skull whispering in my ear, “It’s going to happen.” I don’t know what “It” is, but I’m looking forward to it. That excitement may ebb as the days pass, but on the first day I’m almost giddy at my future prospects.

Anyone who has gone to a new school knows that clean slate feeling. First impressions are yet to be mad. No one at the new school knows about the mishap from middle school. Girls don’t know you are the biggest blabber mouth within a 50 mile radius; boys don’t know you’re the dorkiest thing on two legs. You feel in control. The New Year clean slate isn’t as thorough as a whole new set of people, but it’s good enough. You can leave your past mistakes and shortcomings behind and move forward. Reinventing yourself seems easier now that at any other point. We all know that deep, deep down we are still the same person, and our resolutions in all likelihood will not stick, but the New Year is a time of optimism, so we let those little thoughts slide.

Lastly, there is the element of uncertainty. As many times as I’ve stepped foot into a new hallway, and as many times as we have all rung in a new year, we all feel that twinge of anxiety. What will happen? Things are set in motion but not set in stone. We know the bells will ring, and the syllabi will be handed out. We know the good times and bad times will happen. But, where will we be when that happens? Will we be invited to that party? Will there be a best friend to make? What will be the triumph, trip up, highlight or heartache, of the year?

Blank Moleskine Pages by Sembazuru, on Flickr
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I feel the excitement and uncertainty, and look at the possibility to reinvent myself as something that could happen on any given day, but today feels extra special. At the top of the hill, I can breathe big gulps and fill my lungs with optimism. My vision for the past is 20/20 and my vision for the future is hazy but bright. It’s a good place to be.

With that said, Happy New Year and I hope 2013 is a great one for everyone. Excuse me while I put my inner cynic away for at least a week.

My resolutions
1. Eat healthier
2. Write more

Share your resolutions with me!

Nothing to Lose

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I’ve come to the realization that we really have nothing to lose. It makes me wonder, why then, we all live like we do.

In the past week I have sent out a batch of resumes, made follow up calls, and sat for an interview. I had anticipation, but I wasn’t nervous. Usually I would be a in an ulcer-inducing mess, constantly fretting over the wording of a line, or coming across pleasant or saying the right thing. I would be praying fervently, the same thing, over and over, pleading with God to give me an internship. I know this because I’ve been this way all my life. This time is different. I know that if all else fails I have a spot waiting for me where I currently work. I’m putting my feelers out, but I’m not too worried. This mind set has opened my eyes. Having nothing to lose has changed my perspective.

In most situations when I was younger I was timid. I wasn’t afraid of people; I was afraid of what they thought of me. I didn’t fear situations; I feared how they would affect me. I wasn’t shy, I was calculating. So I didn’t put myself out there. I let opportunities pass by, and gladly. I would think, “That’s another bullet dodged.” Or, “At least I didn’t fail it.” My older and clearly wiser self looks at that and thinks, “What a shame.”

I don’t have regrets, but I do lament that I was the only thing holding myself back. I lived like there was something at stake, something to lose. At that age the world is brimming with possibilities. All you have to do is let your brightly colored balloon, filled with hopes and secret dreams, fly. I was the little girl clenching the strings of the balloon. I clenched so tight that my hand feels stuck that way. Now it’s a struggle to flex, it’s painful to open my hand. But, I do it.

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For an internship, I have something to fall back on. I’m bold, I call, I email, and I probe. I say things I normally wouldn’t say. It’s strange, but oddly exhilarating. I’m finding this a far more interesting way to live: with no fear, like I have nothing to lose – because I don’t. I have nothing to lose. And it applies to everything else in my life.

If we believe our actions or inactions can’t change God’s love for us, then we can’t lose that. If we believe our relationship with God is built on faith and not our deeds, then we can’t lose that. If we believe that He will give good things, and He will fight our battles and He will make our paths straight, then we have nothing to lose. I believe those things, they are a harness in this tight-rope walk called life.  But it’s like I want a harness, a safety net and to remain firmly planted on the ground.

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I don’t need those things. And I don’t want them anymore. I’m going to make it across any the tight-rope anyway. They do nothing for safety and everything for holding me back from the spectacular view and the experience of walking across. I’m already up on the rope, and I have nothing to lose, so I want to stop living like I do.