It’s the last day of the year. The last day we’ll write 2022 and mean it. The passing of time is starting to get to me. I think of all the young people happy to move on to the next year and I find I no longer understand them. I’m trying to remember if I was that way then, too. I’m sure I was. I was an angry and nihilistic one, ready to have life over with.
Oh, how I’ve changed. I’m kind now—or try my best to be. I’m humanistic, hopeful, bordering dangerously on spiritual, and ready even to accept meaning.
Now I want to hold tight to every year and I loathe for each to pass. I cling now, to time, or I want to, but you can’t really. It slips as easily whether you reach out or let it go. There’s nothing to hold to, nowhere for you to find footing. All you can choose is whether to look while your life passes or avert your eyes.
I’m also sad to see the year pass simply because 2022 was a damn good year. I’m leaving it feeling empowered, blessed, and loved. I did things. Life got a bit better, a bit deeper, a bit wider. I want to believe 2023 will be more of the same, but the odds are never in anyone’s favor that the good times will go on. Pain is always on the way.
So, I wanted to write here, before the calendar changes over, and say that right now, I am happy. I leave this as proof that happiness really can happen to a person, for a time, and say with some authority that it’s all worth whatever real joy you get. I hope happiness keeps happening to me and if it ever stops, I hope I will want it to happen again.
As for my hopes for the coming year, I have very few. There are resolutions of course: read a book a month, start working out, journal more, find more writing work, travel, and fix up my old house. I’m not holding too tightly to those goals. I know a lot will change in the next 12 months. I won’t have the same goals, the same resolve. I will succeed and some and fail miserably at others, and that’s already okay by me.
There’s something else, though. Something bigger than a goal I can name or measure. I think I’m growing wiser, or maybe I’m coming to some truth about life that I can live and die with.
I am learning, I think, that there is something in us that amounts to a kind of fate. Not a grand plan, but a being and becoming. We are born who we are and we become the version of that self will be shortly after. We then go on to spend (or waste) a whole lot of time trying to be something else,
But you can never escape yourself. One way or another, you return to who you are. In fact, you will do it again and again and again, sometimes on bad terms, but eventually on good. I think I am returning to myself again; this time, I am meeting myself with not just forgiveness, but with understanding and curiosity. This time I am trying to help myself be who I have always been. This time, I am truly meeting myself with love.
And so we all do, or will, one day. You get tired; you lose the will to fight yourself anymore; you make peace—if you are lucky.
So much is coming back and all of it is falling into place. I can see all the clues I missed. I can hear all the things I have been trying to say. In 2023, I just want to listen more. My body has been giving mixed signals and my words have long been misinterpreted.
It’s getting easier now to slow down, and ask before acting: What does this mean? It helps to take the time to understand where your feelings and needs come from. Work out what would really feel better than how you have been living and start doing things differently. It helps to look back and admit your own patterns to yourself. Mark the places in life where you always seem to come back to and find a way of letting yourself settle.
This is what I want more of in 2023. I want to be more of who I am. There is nothing to add, no great mystery to solve. We all know, somewhere deep down, who we are. You simply have to be that with all your heart.