Bullshit about new beginnings
The only two new year resolutions you need
I am not going to overload you with another essay about how the new year is a chance at a new beginning. Yes, the new year is an arbitrary but understandable time to evaluate your life. But I don’t ascribe to the idea that you can start everything over each new year. Instead, I think you’re just adjusting and re-adjusting until you find something that works for the time being. Then when it’s not working anymore, you re-adjust again.
It’s a crap shoot.
We might do our best, attempt to do everything right, yet life is still uncertain. How do we know what will happen in the new year? How much of it can we even control?
I do think there are two simple tenets to keep in mind when deciding how to order your life. They sound simple, but they may be hard to implement.
Treat yourself well.
Define your goals. Try your best to accomplish them, whether there is outward pressure to get them done, or whether you must push yourself. I’ve worked from home, and on personal photography projects off and on over the past few years. No one was telling me to get anything done, yet I had specific goals mapped out and I stuck to them. It was a struggle, but I used my intrinsic strength to get things done.
Apart from defining your goals, you can support your thinking process and physical health by eating healthy foods. This will make more energy for your body and keep your thinking more centered. In my 30s, I’ve become more aware of how different foods affect me. Take the time to really analyze what diet makes you feel your best.
Aside from choosing healthy foods, you should take breaks, develop your interests, take part in physical activity that you enjoy, and let your brain rest often enough. All of these pieces combined will make for a healthy you.
Treat others well.
Some of you may know that I’m pretty nomadic. Although I move around a lot, I do tend to hit up the same areas more than once. I’ve lived on Jeju Island, South Korea for a couple years of my life. I decided not to buy a car or motorcycle so I take buses anywhere I needed to go. Jeju bus drivers are mostly an unhappy lot, seeming to only take pleasure in making grandmothers trip and fall as a result of their jerky acceleration, or incarcerating plush teddy bears behind the bars of the bus door. The drivers rarely smile, don’t want to interact, and drive like angry fools.
One day, I was descending the large hill from my apartment and I saw the country bus pull up. It was raining. I thought for sure the bus would keep moving because I wasn’t to the stop yet. Miraculously, however, the bus driver waited for me. As I got on the bus in shock, the handsome bus driver smiled at me and said, “Anyeong haseyo!” I felt like I’d stepped into an alternate reality, and I was really happy there. As we pulled into the bus station, everyone who exited the bus said a hearty goodbye to the bus driver and he replied to each in turn. He had cultivated a loving environment in his bus and his job didn’t seem so bad that way. He had created his own positive reality.
Create your own microcosm of kindness
You do have control over how you treat other people. You don’t have to conform to a “standard of standoffishness.” Why not try to really connect, even if your efforts are not always reciprocated? Value human interaction. Treat people how you would love to be treated. Give them love even when they don’t offer it first. Don’t save your kindness for only people you know well. It will make your interactions with either strangers or friends and family more manageable and more enjoyable.
The earth counts.
The way we treat the earth affects us all, animals and humankind. Being conscious of your choices and how they affect the earth will make it a better, healthier place for generations to come. The reality is depressing, our drinking water has plastic in it, our jungles are being destroyed, glaciers are melting. Be mindful, be committed—you can still make a difference. Incremental changes to your lifestyle could ensure less species going extinct, healthier air to breathe, and a better balance between all living beings. Yes, it turns out you and I have a lot of power and control!
Yes, we’ve established you cannot control everything. But following these two important tenets will make for a more rewarding life. Were you wondering where the word crapshoot came from? I read that it’s a term that came out of playing a game named Craps. It refers to the element of luck in the game that can’t be controlled. Endeavor for great relationships with loved ones, strangers, and our earth.Once you’ve done your best to treat yourselves and others with kindness, there is not much else you can do. Afterwards, you must accept whatever the outcome is. Naturally, my advice is not a formula for the “perfect life.” You will probably still face hardships, difficult decisions, and sadness. But if, when these challenges arise, you can remember to keep treating others with kindness, I am convinced life will feel more manageable. You will cultivate a culture of love and kindness. And that’s a valuable thing.
Are you making resolutions? Or will you be following these two tenets?