Don’t wish away 2016
As the year comes to a close I’m hearing so many people wishing away 2016.
‘Let it be over already’.
‘I can’t wait to see the back of this year’.
‘Worst year ever. Good riddance’.
This can be to do with personal challenges (yup a death in your life can be a big reason), the state of world affairs, and even the death of celebrities.
To be honest this isn’t at all unique to 2016. I see the same every year.
I get it. I get when you’ve had a tough year…or a rotten year…or a year worse than you ever imagined possible and you don’t even know how you’re still standing….that you just want it over with. But wishing it away is not the solution. For a couple of good reasons.
Firstly…2016 and 2017 are simply two dates, one day apart, agreed upon by society. What I mean is that we understand that 31st December is 2016 and that the next day is a new year, 2017, but what does this actually mean? What is different when you wake up on the 1st of January? What is it that has automatically changed overnight between 2016 and 2017?
Nada. Zilch. Absolutely nothing.
We understand it’s a ‘new year’, so we often perceive it differently. And that’s all. The slate is not suddenly wiped clean. Whatever baggage you were carrying on the 31st of December you’ll still wake up with on January 1st.
This may seem a very depressing message. But think about it – you already know this. You’ve seen enough years end and new years begin to know that you don’t leave the year behind. That your pain and your stress and your challenges do not automatically dissolve because one number has changed on the calendar.
Let me be very clear though: I am not saying you’re stuck with whatever happened, whatever you’re feeling and you have no power to change a thing. Nononononono! You can absolutely change everything, if you really want to, but it won’t just happen without your participation. But again, you know this bit already.
I said there were two reasons not to wish away your year. The second reason is: that it’s a precious year of your life. I know it might have been challenging – challenging beyond belief – but it was still your life. There is something sadly ironic that we try everything to hold on to our dead and dying, wishing for more time and more life for them….but we wish away huge chunks of our own as if they mean nothing and are worth nothing.
And if someone you love died in 2016 then you are wishing away a chunk of their life too. A piece of who they were. The last chapter in the story of the life they lived.
And not all the year was bad. Don’t lose sight of what was good, great, or wonderful about the year. Don’t forget the good times, the new relationships or friendships, the kindnesses done or received, and the lessons learnt. When you wish the year away you lump it all together and completely discount anything that doesn’t fit your overall narrative that it was a bad year.
And if you can get that far…to remember what was great about 2016…can you go a little further? Can you start to look at what was good, meaningful, beautiful about what you see as only bad right now? Because that is where things will really start to change for you.
Because you cannot truly leave a year behind you. 2016 will come with you wherever you go.
But you can look back and see it’s importance in your life. You can transform the way you are looking at it. See the good and the bad both. See what made you happy as well as those challenges that made you grow (or are making you grow…or will make you grow).
When I look at my 2016 it has actually been one of the more challenging years of my life. But I’m ok. This is all about perspective. If I was to write down just the bad, the challenges, it would actually look quite bleak and I’d probably feel pretty rubbish and very, very sorry for my poor self. In fact I admit to having done that a lot this last year. But when I step away from that for a second and look at what positives came out of this year, and there were many (and many that came directly as a result of what was so very challenging) 2016 looks very very different to me.
So, if you want to commit to a better 2016, instead of just hoping for a better 2017 while dragging your crappy 2016 with you, then I invite you to join me in the activity I’ll be doing sometime in the next few days.
1. I’ll make a list of all the good/positive that happened this year.
2. Then I’ll look at what was most challenging about this year and write down what I learnt from these things, how I’ve grown, who I’ve connected to, what changes I’ve seen, and how my life has changed for the better because of these challenges.
This is how I will see 2016 out. By appreciating it. By actively searching for and finding it’s beauty. By loving it. I invite you to do the same.