Like many people in my generation, I’m sure, I get really fixated on this song at the end of every year — ever since 1996 when I was in 8th grade and it came out.
Fun fact! Adam Duritz, the lead singer for the Counting Crows, dated Courteney Cox in the mid 90s (before she found David Arquette on the set of Scream). The letters that she’s reading in this video are actual letters that Adam Duritz wrote to her.
So anyway, the end of every year kind of feels like such a precipice, doesn’t it? You make it through something and you think, “Okay. Time for some changes!”
So we vow to exercise more, eat better, lose weight, do something daring, or drop whatever’s been holding us back. And we’re all full of a tremendous drive to do this simply because the date changes. The year changes. It’s something new and it holds so much promise, but we don’t treat other months in the same manner. It’s just that January is special. January is a new year and it carries the promise of a new you.
A ‘new you’ or a ‘new version of you’?
(Hat tip, Felicity.)
A ‘new you’ would imply that you’re a completely different person, but unless you were a real a-hole to begin with, I’m not sure that a completely new you is necessarily a good thing. Most of the time when you hear someone say something like, “He’s just changed so much. He’s not even the same person anymore,” it’s got a pretty negative undertone. You haven’t changed for the better.
On the other hand, a ‘new version of you’ would imply that you’re the same person (which is great if you’re not an a-hole already), but you’re just doing some new and different things, and you’re able to balance and maintain. You can cut your hair, take piano lessons, and start dating that new guy, and your friends don’t even complain because you still talk to and make time for them — that’s a new version of you. Generally viewed in a more positive light.
But we also see New Year and think: January. New month. New year. New and improved. Let’s do this!
(I, for one, would like to posit that sometimes old things can be treasures, but maybe that’s just the effect that camp fire songs from Girl Scouts had on me. “One is silver and the other’s gold” and whatnot.)
Maybe it’s because even the most pessimistic of us are more optimistic than we think. Or maybe it isn’t pessimism at all. Maybe it’s just realism. As for me, I try with the resolutions . . . sometimes. But I prefer to keep them small, and relatively easily achievable. Like in 2005 when a friend informed me that my resolution was to start carrying a purse in 2006.
But on the whole, I’m more likely to side with Bono on this one. Nothing changes on New Year’s Day.
(Albeit I’m taking that very literally as “New Year’s Day” is actually about the Polish Solidarity Movement.)
We might start out with the best of intentions, but something always happens. You can’t force change any more than you can force things to stay the same (and I know this for a fact because it’s a hard, painful, bitch of a lesson I’ve been learning firsthand with a close friend in 2012). Everything is going to happen as it’s going to happen. You can create variables, but when it comes down to it, The Universe isn’t operating on your time.
You can’t make people like you or treat you well through sheer will.
I can say this, yet still never quite grasp it.
(By the way, if you’ve read this far and you’re all, “WTFrank, this isn’t even remotely entertaining,” then I apologize. While it should be clear from some of my previous posts, you might be a brand new reader, so you should know that I get in these really introspective moods. ESPECIALLY in the winter. Nothin’ to do but sit and think, yeah?)
(This is my 5th parenthetical aside.)
So what’s up for 2013, Frank?
Before moving ahead, it’s important to take current stock. I’ve done a lot of things that I’m pretty proud of and happy about in 2012. Like driving through Center City Philadelphia on St. Patrick’s Day and not running over any of the drunk people lying in the street.
In 2012 I’ve come back to some old friendships. They remind me that just because you can’t always prevent someone from falling away from you, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be like that forever. You might just find them again someday. All you can do is hope. It still really sucks though, but that’s enough about that because Frank’s not in the mood to have some kind of super touchy-feely-girly cry-fest. Roar.
I’ve also gained a lot of confidence in myself when it comes to my job. I’m a career switcher. My two degrees in English and my writing minor certainly help me out quite a bit on a daily basis, but I’ve still had to learn a lot and I continue to love doing it. I feel like the field I’m in now is where I always wanted to be. It’s a fantastic combination of so many things that I’ve always enjoyed, but there was just no way to prepare for it growing up. I don’t even think they were preparing people for it when I was in college (I graduated in 2005). I can remember only one of my professors really pushing for “new media awareness” in grad school (circa 2008). I’m very happy doing what I’m doing, and very grateful to the people who took a chance on me and help me learn.
As a writer, I’ve also grown this year. I’ve had some really cool writing opportunities through my job. I also write weekly blog posts for a few business blogs (2 posts/week for one site, 1 post/week for another, and occasionally a post for a third site as well). For a while I was a daily blogger for one of them. It got me a lot of great exposure, but ultimately I couldn’t keep up that pace with everything else I was doing.
Finally, the ability to help people has meant the world to me this year. I think it was my Gram who taught me that if you find yourself with a void, try to fill it with something positive. Talking specifics here would make me kind of uncomfortable, but suffice it to say that I was happy to be able to support my friends’ charitable endeavors. A week or so ago, I got a nasty email from a total stranger and it made me feel kind of crappy. That very same day, I got a handwritten note in the mail from another total stranger — a friend of a friend. This note was thanking me for what I did for her family when their home in NJ was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Made me feel so happy inside. Life has a funny way…
(Related: I encourage everyone to try a random act of kindness in 2013, but don’t tell anyone what you did. It’s such a great feeling — like having this awesome secret.)
I would sincerely like all of those things to flourish (or at least maintain) in 2013.
For everything I know is going to be difficult in this upcoming year, I know that I also have something exciting on the horizon; something to which I can look forward. I know there are possibilities. There is hope. I’m excited for some changes way more than I’m prepared for others. Such is life.
But there’s reason to believe.
As for Frank, here, well, I’m hoping to rejuvenate him in 2013. I’ve spent this past year getting on my feet and figuring things out. This behemoth of a post is the result of several unwritten ones sort of melting together. One long post to make up for a long December (see what I just did there?).
See you in 2013.