Its officially two days into the new year. And more than prior years (maybe I wasn't paying attention?) I notice everyone is declaring themselves changed in one capacity or another.
Sure, a new year is a clean slate of sorts, but do you really need a new year to be a "new you?" And furthermore, it begs the question, what was wrong with the old you?
We all have room to grow, I suppose. And if I lined myself up, year by year, Shanika circa 2010-2015 just for a start, I can say they'd be definitively different. Some years more naive, more confused, full of optimism, or a little too much realism to see past the situations that filled those years. Still, each and every version of me is still ME.
As I progress though, I feel like I'm being handed additional pieces to a puzzle that I've been trying to put together without the big picture to look at. I can say this year I feel more astute than ever to take on what's thrown at me. Why? Because I've been through more hilariously unreal situations than I can count, thrown my hands up at the heavens and all but screamed "why, why, WHY!!!" at God - only to later go through something else that the prior nonsense prepared me to tackle or helped me to avoid altogether.
Some things I thought were breaking me actually taught me about myself. They taught me to trust my instinct, to complain less, work harder, speak less, how to pick my battles - in a sense I don't know who I would be without my struggles.
To that end, I don't necessarily intend to reinvent myself, not that anything is wrong with wanting to do that. But, there's something ingeniously beautiful about being just who you are. One thing I've learned to accept about myself over the past year is that nothing about me is simple. I'm painfully complicated. You know those personality quizzes? I'm always straddling between two responses, and I'm that same way in life. I don't fit nicely in any box. I used to try - unsuccessfully- to self identify and fit into one niche or another, only to be called out as a hypocrite or confusing by one person or another eventually. I thought it was other people not understanding me but the problem is I didn't really understand myself, to be honest. Now I just accept the fact that I'm messy and all over the place - a beautiful disaster if you know what I mean (HA!)
But my point is, maybe you made some mistakes last year. Maybe things didn't play out as expected. Maybe you were too trusting and people who you wish you never met were able to pull the wool over your eyes. Don't vow to change who you are for that reason. Of course you'll inevitably change and become wiser - you can't help but to grow, mature and blossom as time passes. That's the beauty of life. But don't swear to "leave everyone behind," or promise to become selfish just to prove a point to someone who wasn't thinking of you to begin with. If you have a big heart, continue to have a big heart, just be more cautious about who you let enter that large space. If you're giving and charitable, continue to be so. If you should have taken better care of yourself last year, you can do so without seeming like you're blowing off the world. In essence, it's A-Ok to be your same old self going into 2015, maybe with a few improvements and a little more prepared for the road ahead.