The more ‘new years’ I experience, the more familiar they all feel. Of course every year brings its own share of novelty and new experiences, but as the years pile up, I can’t help but feel as if I’ve been here before, presented with the same opportunities of chasing new versions of myself. And to many, this is the chance they needed to right their wrongs and do right by themselves. But to others, it is evidence that life is nothing but a Sisyphean task, the never-ending futile cycle of pushing a boulder up a hill just to have it roll back down again. Then rinse and repeat. For the rest of our lives. Doesn’t sound appetizing really, does it?
Being consistent, especially in the things that serve you can get repetitive in a not-so-gratifying way. In a society where edginess and newness are exalted, committing yourself to the same mundane routine that brings nothing ‘fresh and new’ to the table feels more like punishment than an investment in your future self. As comfort and pleasure-seeking become more mainstream, our tenacity as a society to do the hard things that actually matter has dramatically reduced.
Personally, I know that writing serves me better than other habits I might occasionally indulge in. But the urge to only engage in the things that need the least effort never stops stalking me. I could blame evolution for my inherent laziness; my incessant need to lay around doing nothing but the bare minimum, but brooding on my inclination towards effortless pleasure won’t change a thing, so why bother in the first place?
Almost every New Year brings with it the pressure of changing the things within us that we know need changing. We all of a sudden experience this sense of urgency, this immediacy that reminds us that time has never waited for no man, and that we aren’t going to be the exception. But the same time goes by, our frail memories fail us and before we know it, we’re singing along to the ‘New year, Old me’ mantra. It gets exhausting, holding on to the hope that you’ll one day become the person you need to be but never actually bringing yourself to do the things you need to do with the dedication and commitment it needs. No wonder most of us resign ourselves back to the old habits that reaffirm our old ways of being. The thought that you can wake up one day and little by little do things that will eventually lead to your metamorphosis is so alien and far-fetched that we’d rather convince ourselves that that’s a myth people tell themselves just to get by.
I watch mixed martial arts (MMA) a lot. Probably more than I should. It’s a brutal sport, a sport built on blood and sweat quite literally. But glorious nonetheless. Men from all ends of the earth train and put their bodies through hell for 15 minutes (sometimes 25) of glory. But what grips me the most is the fact that it’s never really over until it’s over. An athlete can get knocked down more times than you can count, and get rag-dolled like you would a toddler, but even then, all they need is that one punch that’ll shut their opponent’s lights out. Just one shot right on the button and all the punches and elbows he ate won’t have mattered. Well, unless brain damage gets to him later. But you get my point. Being down and bloodied isn’t the same as being down and out. If you still have some life in you, you also have some fight left in you. Happy New Year folks.