How I realised the bitterness of “new year new me”, “best year ever” and every other jubilant new year resolution. How I’m moving on.
Ending The Year On The Worst Note
I would be lying if said I didn’t use to delight in the new year optimism and its merry making myself. The week before the new year was always buoyant; spent looking back on good times and forward to even better. Then, came the turn of the decade.
One week before this new year, I experienced an unexpected and deep personal loss.
All at once, the familiar balance between a new year’s promise and a passing year’s melancholy was violently tipped. I couldn’t help feeling a sharp, but inexplicable poignancy towards happy-new-years and best-year-yet resolutions. They were smothering, despite the gaping pit now opened in my life.
New Year, New Slumps & Old Woes
So I realised, there are many ways to be displaced from the imagined delight of a new year.
It makes more sense that predicaments remain irregardless of what year it is. A new year can’t pull anyone out of hard times. Perhaps it even exacerbates the blues, when the entire universe is gearing up to leap into that theoretical new chapter…well, except you.
In the days leading up to my grandmother’s funeral — which I saw as a difficult, forever goodbye — I often wondered how can I move past this? Do I want to?
The year that was approaching with vengeance now filled me with staggering dread and regret. As if I had boarded a high speed train only to realise — as it departs — that I had left all my belongings behind.
Moving Yourself Forward, Because You Can
One thing’s for sure, it takes more than a “new year” to feel better, close a chapter, or move along. For myself, I’m sure the end of the year will never be the same again.
Yet, ready or not, I have admittedly already fallen back into my usual routine. Life goes on, somewhat. Although perhaps, I would prefer to move myself along instead of relying on the crutch of old habits.
While I am no professional and these will not apply to everyone, here are 4 things I found helpful in coping with my new year slump:
1. Have A Space For Your Thoughts
A sketchbook, a journal, or an online space to throw out your thoughts through whatever medium(s) you like. Personally, I have always used my planner/diary to make plans, goals and write when I feel like it. Looking through my diary always feels like a wonderful way to see how much I’ve done.
2. Make Resolutions At Your Own Pace
Or none at all. There should be no rules to creating new year resolutions. Make them when you’re ready, change them if you need to and work on them at your own speed. Take your time, remember that small steps make big ones.
3. Don’t Stay Put For Too Long
Getting started on something often feels like the hardest part. Everyone needs timeouts, but not until they turn into comfortable escape mechanisms. I try to remind myself that not getting up means I’ll always be stuck at the same place.
4. Forgive Yourself
Never to be misinterpreted as irresponsibility or weakness, forgiving yourself often demonstrates the opposite. It mandates admitting and reflecting on your faults, in order to come to terms with them. Importantly, moving on seems nearly impossible without a degree of forgiveness. This remains work-in-progress for myself (perhaps you too), but that’s okay.
It’s another year, ready or not. If the new year isn’t going as great as you would like, or as others appear to be having, you are not alone. We are all on our way. Good luck. You can do it!
**If you need to speak to a professional or in the event of a mental health emergency, do not hesitate to call Samaritans of Singapore’s 24-hour helpline at 1800 221 4444. See here for a list of other relevant helplines and health lines in Singapore.