Journal Series: Happy New Year

It’s officially January 1st, 2024; Happy New Year!

The New Year is something we celebrate, however we choose to do so and with whomever. Many people set resolutions to help them chart out the year ahead, and others reflect on what they accomplished in the year prior. Words that come to mind when I think about New Years: refresh, overhaul, evaluate, contemplate, rejuvenate, connect, gain, achieve, optimism.

Today, however, I feel the opposite of all these words. I feel exhausted. I feel like shutting down. I feel like I’ve already changed enough. I feel too tired to think about anything my life. I feel run down. I feel like disconnecting from all people. I feel like I’m losing my sanity. I feel like I can’t reach for the stars. I feel cynical.

I already know this is not the way one should feel entering a New Year, and yet here I am. This isn’t a cry for help or a manifesto of bad things to come; please do not sound the alarms. I think what I am trying to express is that it might be more normal than we think to feel less than celebratory when it comes to the change in year. When I speak to my closest friends and read content from like-minded people online, it seems that the New Year can bring about polar opposite emotions that contradict how the world expects us to feel. What is the reason for this? And why are so many of us feeling it so intensely this year?

I can’t speak for anyone else, but when it comes to me, I feel like that ‘push forward’ mentality is fading away. You know the one I’m referring to. It’s when you feel like everything around you sucks, but you tell yourself to push forward and stop playing the victim. Stop wallowing and go to work. Stop spending and read a book. Stop scrolling and clean up. You tell yourself to push forward because life could always be worse and there are people out there going through a much harder time than you are. All of this is true, but after years and years of pushing forward, doesn’t it just become exhausting? Don’t you just feel like you want to stop and stay still? I feel like I want to just acknowledge that, yes, I am unhappy with many aspects of my life and, no, I don’t want to just push past it and ignore it. I want to wallow. I want to spend. I want to scroll. And I want nothing else.

The problem is that not everyone around you will understand this. I mentioned above that like-minded people get it, but that doesn’t account for the majority of people. It’s really hard to descend into your dark place at a time like New Years when positivity is meant to be the constant theme. So, what do I do now?

I feel like in my writing, I always tie things back to a grand moral or lesson, but this time I really don’t know where to take things. But maybe that’s okay. Maybe it’s fine to not always know what comes next and not always know how to handle every emotion. Maybe this flurry of sadness is also the catalyst that I need to really trigger that action plan needed to improve upon life. As they say, hitting rock bottom means the only way forward is up, right?

Still, I will convey this… Although I don’t feel understood and accepted right now, I do wish for more peace in the world and more peace in the minds of people. In fact, I firmly believe it is the chaos in our minds and souls that feed into how we physically manifest ourselves in situations. Our own unrest and uncertainty can cause unexpected situations and feuds in the physical world. Case and point, just because I am in a bad mood might mean I snap on someone unintentionally, and that catapults them into a negative state that they in turn inflict onto someone else. That’s just how it goes. Circle of life.

What can we do to deliver ourselves from this cycle we’ve been in? As a society on Earth, how can be stop the fighting, the abuse, and all of the unhappiness? All I can say is that it starts within, and that is where I want to begin. But not today. Today, I just want to zone out and hope that tomorrow is a new, better day. A better year.

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