Have you ever gotten so worked up about something so small? When you were a kid your biggest worry was what you would get for Christmas or your birthday. Your whole world relied on that single box, all wrapped up with a bow on top. You gallop from the bedroom to the tree and wait patiently with excitement because you knew the rules: ‘no present opening until the whole family is there’. Your parents FINALLY show up and you scream and you shout because you’ve been waiting all year for this. You tear back the wrapping paper like a ravenous lion chewing through the gamey bits of a gazelle to get to the tender meats. Throwing paper over your shoulder you reveal your bounty so that you and everyone else can see it. And your eyes widen and your heart palpitates when you find that it’s…
…The year 2017. Haha. Hehe.
You’re confused when you first look at it because it isn’t exactly what you expected. At this point, you realize that the rainbow Barbie doll house with flying buttresses and bonus Ken doll is completely off the shelf. Instead, you’ve been given this strange conglomeration of mixed emotions, rollercoaster rides, melted ice cream from the low end of the roller coaster, some broken dishes, and maybe a burning bridge or two.
Puzzled and a little confused you study 2017 and try to break it down by understanding its function. What does it do? Can I wear it? Did anyone else get what I got? Why did you give this to me?
Oddly enough, you decide to keep it. Even though you’re not really sure what it is yet, you are okay with the fact that you got something that is unique and no one else got one like yours. Plus, your parents won’t let you take it back.
So now you have two options.
1. You can show the other kids how cool your holiday was by showing them pictures that make it look awesome. You can even show them pictures of 2017 and how excited you were to see it. But maybe only show them up until you see the box because you wouldn’t want a retelling of Pandora.
2. When others ask what your holiday was like, you say it was quote on quote “fine” with just enough angst so that they know that something is going on, but also no enough so that they’ll ask about it. You wouldn’t want them to know that you got something as strange and mind-bending as 2017!
But whether or not you tell anyone you have it, you still glance at 2017 every now and then. It collects dust in the corner of your room for a few days before you decide that it’s time to open it and actually a get a good look at it.
You peel back the taped edges (which are taped reeeaaaallllyyyyyy tight for some reason), and you open the box. And you find so much more inside than you thought 2017 could hold. Some of the things in there you already know what to do with. That’s why your freezer is stocked with ice cream. There are some things there that are new and strange. You think you might have an idea of what to do with those (but after holding on to 2017 for years you find that you had no idea what it really was in the first place). You find broken pieces of something in there, but no matter how long you search through 2017, you can’t seem to find the other half. You find medical supplies from that one time you tried to mend your friend’s wound. You find pictures of someone that you don’t really talk to anymore. And somethings that you were absolutely certain should be there, can’t be found. You find things you want to burn, things you want to keep even though they make you burn, and others in between that you spend so much time thinking about that you can’t figure out what to do with them. You find a whole bunch of empty space and you wonder why these things come with so much emptiness in them…
But among these things you also find light. Not often, but when you do find the light in 2017 you feel an overwhelming sensation of pride and happiness and joy. And even though there isn’t much of it, you dig through all that other crap to feel that warmth from the light.
And while you’re looking through 2017. You find out that someone has left something on your bed for you. Something wrapped with a bow. You guess that your parents thought that you didn’t like 2017 very much so they got you something else to make up for it. You open this on more carefully, careful not to damage the paper this time because you don’t want anyone to know that you opened it. You slide your new box out from its wrapping to find that it…
…Doesn’t matter what it is…
We’ve spent so much time concerned with what this new thing is that we forgot that it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how much of the good we get, it doesn’t matter how much of the aching and the pain we get; what matters is that we recognize that this year and the year to come are gifts, that is why it is called present.
Resolutions aren’t goals or expectations, they are realizations you have within yourself. They are changes that you decided to make; they are worlds that you decide to perceive differently. So what is your resolution, I wonder? Something grandiose and powerful? Or something simple? It matters not what you do with this gift, all the matters is how you choose to interpret it.
P.s. I’m wishing you the best of transitions from this year to the next. Good luck.