Eternally, I keep trying to leave behind the failures of my days and weeks, to turn over a new leaf, to have a clean page, promising that this time I’ll make the most of my time, do it right, finally succeed. I seemed determined to make this new step, this new effort the one that finally works, the one that I finally don’t screw up, the one that finally proves I am not a failure.
This determination to leave the past behind and start over is leaving me crippled and crushed, unable to take a step forward for fear that it is not the absolute best effort and work I can muster.
2013, the year after the end of the world, began on a Tuesday, which is probably the most insignificant day of the week.
Today, Facebook and Twitter are full of people talking about resolutions. This year’s trend seems to be not making resolutions for the new year, but rather making goals or new habits or articulating values that (we can hope) will be more lasting than a wishful resolve. The magic of 12 midnight of the first of January has propelled us into a fresh day, one that starts a new calendar year. A new year, a new day, a new hour, a new moment. Everyone seems happy to leave 2012 behind or excited to step into 2013 and find an even better year than the last one.
But it’s Tuesday.
Let’s be honest here: New Year’s eve and the day that follows is just another day. The significance we assign to this moment in time is only symbolic. Nothing is significantly different from yesterday. Sure, we all flipped the calendar page over, but it’s still Tuesday. It’s still the same week as it was, we still have the same life we did, the same job, the same family, the same hopes and dreams, and the same weaknesses and shame.
Nothing changes on a Tuesday.
Most of the time, I wish starting over was as easy as having that last minute pass before midnight on New Years Eve.
But it’s not.
No matter how hard we want to deny our past, our failures, and our lacking, the truth of the matter is this: our history has happened. It cannot be undone. It cannot be forgotten. It cannot be denied. Our history is our story. A new day, a new year, a new decade… none of this is a reset button. There is no definitive mark in the sand, some mystical line signifying that now we can finally be who we were destined to be and finally do our dreams.
We don’t start over; we keep moving on.
I keep moving with my history in tow, this bag full of stories and lessons, wisdom gained from each passing year. I may not have done all of it right, but it has led me here. As wounded, troubled, bland, and disappointing as some of my history has been, I wouldn’t erase it and try to start over. Instead, I will move on.
I want the pages of my story to be fuller than they have been. So I will move on, building on what has come before. I will continue to build a life with all the baggage I carry with me. I will redeem my history. I will watch the seeds of my past grow and bloom into maturity. I can’t leave it all behind, after all history is the stuff of life.
I’m probably going to feel like a failure at this. I’m probably going to let my self down. I’m probably going to let you down.
But I will move on.
Each day I wake up and continue to walk my path, hope my hopes, work out my dreams. Every day I wake up, pick up my history, and continue on is another day I add to my story. As long as I am adding pages, I know it’s not done. I know there is more to be written, more to be lived, more to make into my future history. There is more good, more bad, and more ugly to be had. There is more.
Every day I choose to pick up where I left off the night before, when I take my history with me into the unknown, every time I keep moving on… this is the best kind of new start.