As the New Year settles in, it’s natural for us to think about the future.
We set goals and make resolutions (which we probably won’t keep) to take full advantage of the new beginning we gratefully receive year after year.
I’ve never been one to make resolutions; they always struck me as superficial and destined for a short-lived career in the form of a diet plan, a gym membership or a makeshift bucket list.
They always seemed meaningless—meant to be broken without causing too much commotion. So I preferred not to contribute to such vain attempts at the “new year, new me” mantra.
But this year, I feel differently.
I feel there’s an intention worth acknowledging in the form of a promise to myself. I might not say it out loud while waiting for the ball to drop; but I will write it down. I’ll write it here, in my journal and on my heart.
I’m making this resolution for the coming year and every year of my life after that. It’s probably the only resolution I’ll ever make.
And I didn’t come up with it by thinking about the future. Rather, it came to me through deep reflection and meditation on everything up to and including this point—where I am, as I am and how it all happened.
This was a year of change for me. Some changes were good and some were bad, but eventually I discovered that even the bad ones were good, in a way.
They came from a place deep inside me—an uncharted territory smitten with the fresh waves graciously crashing onto its shores. Before I even had the chance to wander in awe of the scene, I was pulled into the current, forced to ride the waves I both feared and craved.
For the first time, I decided to enjoy the ride.
By glancing backwards, I pieced together some explanations for the sole purpose of letting them go, marking the birth of my friendship with the present moment. I delved into the memories of storms I couldn’t have predicted or understood; I don’t think I’ll ever understand them, but I am beginning to understand their purposes in all their bewildering glory:
I’m the person I’ve always been—a perplexingly simple and curious girl wanting to be uncovered and loved—and I met her as my trusty companion through those storms.
It’s been wild getting to know her, and I don’t even know all there is to know about her yet.
I’m still finding my way. I’m still in the process—and I always will be.
Life begins when we figure out that finding our way is the place we seek. There is no destination at which we stop and say, “this is it, I’ve made it. I’ve found who I am.”
When we feel it, we’re moving. We’re in the process of getting to know who we are, and sooner or later we come to terms with the fact that this process is the destination.
So, that one and only resolution I’m making? It’s to love the process.
Even when it hurts me, discourages me, weakens my heart and dumps buckets of rain on my head, I resolve to love it. Every part of it. Every time.
Because everything is a process, really. Nothing just is—it must become.
Why deny ourselves the overwhelming potential for change and realization just because the process is a little scary? (Ok, maybe it’s more than a little scary, but I maintain my point.) That’s the part we need; that’s where we learn to ride the waves, even if we come close to drowning a few times and can’t figure out which way is up.
And it’s where we get to know the brilliant, maybe-a-little-awkward and incredibly unique individuals waiting to grace the maps of our journeys—the people we really are.
With this New Year, I resolve to love the process. I will love it at its best and at its worst, even when I don’t love it at all. It will be a challenge to say the least, but that’s why I’m making it my only resolution, for this year and the years to come; I’ll need time to keep this promise. Some patience, openness and love will probably help, too.
It’s a process. And so I will love it.
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Assistant Editor: Cami Krueger/Editor: Rachel Nussbaum
Photo: elephant journal archives