There’s something appealing about starting over. So much so, that we have built it into our collective consciousness–we turn over new leaves, we get fresh starts, we make New Year’s Resolutions.
History has the human race celebrating the ensuing New Year as early as 2000 BC (although back then, the calendar started in March). Our traditions as we know them come from a long held Roman custom, a feast to celebrate the god Janus (spoiler alert: January is named after him).* It was said that Janus–the god of doorways, beginnings, change, and transition–had two faces; one turned toward the past, the other toward the future.
Because, as appealing as it may be to start clean, the Romans realized that one cannot move forward without building off the past.
There’s a school of thought that says we live only in the moment, and in the moment there is no pain. There is only the memory of pain from the past, and the fear of pain for for the future. In each individual moment, we are free from the constraints of life, only burdened by the repercussions of our former decisions. It’s our mission, then, to build a future free of those burdens.
We do not ever get to erase the past, and running from it only leaves it unprocessed (which inevitably manifests itself in the form of addiction–to food, to alcohol, to whatever numbs those feelings). Instead, we can face it, using it to build the foundation toward our futures.
Do the future you a favor; stop creating a past that you feel burdened by. Start working toward your goals. Choose to release the pain of your past so that you do not have to feel it in the moment. Make the most of your new year.
My new year’s resolution, and my challenge to each of you, comes from one of the most influential people in my life thus far, Dr. Frank-N-Furter of Rocky Horror esteem:
“Don’t dream it, be it.”
*fun facts care of Earth Sky