Are you a person excitedly anticipating when it is no longer socially acceptable for people to wish each other a Happy New Year? Are you wishing conversations about New Years Eve parties and resolutions, would just stop? If so, this article may be for you.
I have spent so many New Years wishing I were more fun, I were at a different place, or that I had been invited to that better party. I have been single and wishing I had a kiss. I have been depressed and lost, and trying my hardest to avoid New Years resolution conversations, because I felt like a Failure at life. I have spent New Years reflecting on the past year, and wondering where it all went, feeling as though I wasted another year of life.
Over the years, as I have come to share more vulnerably with my community about my own struggles, and the ways I have begrudged the coming of the New Year, I have realized we all have elements of our humanity that we need to bring visibility to, especially during the New Year.
A main theme our culture seems to skip over in the New Year narrative, is grief. For many of us, being told Happy New Year, and contemplating resolutions, triggers many layers of grief.
So here are some of my thoughts to all of you grieving in different ways right now.
For all those of you who are grieving the loss of a relationship, due to death or a break up or separation of some sort, let yourself grieve. No need to wish and will yourself into being joyful, hopeful, and happy. You are exactly where you need to be, and it is necessary to let yourself fully grieve, even if that means that you won’t end up having a happy year ahead.
For those of you who are not as successful in whatever way you are currently defining as success, it is perhaps an opportunity to learn, heal, and grow, by being exactly where you are in your life right now. Yeah, so life isn’t where you thought it would be, and you aren’t who you thought you were. You are grieving this loss of a fantasy, while dealing with the disappointment of reality. This is ok. Feeling this fully, and dealing honestly with this loss, is what will one day help you reach happiness. And in the process, you will likely redefine success in a way that suits who you inherently are.
For those of you who are not able bodied or psychologically structured in such a way to make it to a party, or to spend time with the people or at the place you would ideally like to spend the beginning of your New Year, I see you. Very few things are worse than spending one of the most hyped days of the year under the covers, in severe physical pain, feeling alienated, stuck in a hospital, or in a wheelchair. Nothing is worse then seeing others expressing jubilance, and able to so easily drink, partake in festivities, and put themselves together in a socially acceptable and celebrated manner, to bring in the New Year, “right”, when you can’t do this. You see so many smiles on social media, and are perhaps hearing the fireworks and cheers of people next door, or in your neighborhood, while inside, trapped in your body or your mind. Grieve. Keep reminding yourself you do not have to be happy, and in fact it is your birthright to find out how to experience your own sort of peace with what is. And, this process of finding peace, may mean not being happy for a very long time. Rage. Cry. Do what you need to do.
For those who are working during the celebrations, or need to work (early) in the morning, and cannot take the time to celebrate, I see you too. This is a loss. Let yourself grieve. Celebrate later. In fact, celebrate all year. And, let yourself feel what you feel about this. Maybe you won’t be happy this year either, and this is ok.
And, for everyone else who believes and experiences that they are not who, how, what, where, and when they ought to be, as a part of this New Years process, let yourself feel it and grieve it, too. Let yourself honor the fact that during the transition into the next calendar year, as well as during this entire year, there is SO MUCH more to being alive and living your unique, individual human life, than being happy. In fact, all of it is just as important as happiness. As you cannot have true, authentic happiness, without feeling all of this other stuff, too!
In this world, where there is so much emphasis on presenting a perfect, healthy, happy life, while so many are curating a persona and lifestyle that aren’t authentic, it is especially important to let yourself grieve. And, in this grieving process, share vulnerably with others, and let yourself overcome shame and denial of your own humanity. This is incredibly courageous, and helps you find a life that brings you the greatest and most authentic happiness.
Be a leader in your authentic, vulnerable grieving, in changing a cultural sphere that shames us all in to believing to be living “right”, we SHOULD have only a “happy” New Year.
So, I will leave you all with an aspiration for your New Years process. Perhaps start a trend of wishing people a New Year filled with courage, acceptance, vulnerability, and grace, to deal honestly with whatever situations and experiences arise.
This may lead us all to relate in a healthier, more integrated way, toward New Years Eve, as well as the ensuing New Years process. Who knows, we may even change as a culture, and start loving and accepting our selves more!