Hello 2018: On Un-Resolutions and Making Mistakes

making mistakes quote neil gaiman

When I sat down to write this post I had a weird experience: I had no idea what to write. Total classic writer’s block. After the busy-ness of December and the holidays I had no idea what I wanted to say, what I wanted to talk about. Sure it’s the first post of the new year: new beginnings, fresh start, resolutions and goals, all that good stuff.

But I couldn’t figure out what to say, so I admitted temporary defeat and walked away. I know ultimately something would come to mind, and maybe the best thing was to turn my attention to other things. I checked a few other things off my list and reflected on my own goals for the year… and while thinking about why I call them goals instead of resolutions something came to mind: un resolutions.

I love looking forward and thinking about what I hope to achieve in a new year, to build on the previous. But I always feel funny about the perceived line in the sand that marks the end of one year and the beginning of the next, as if somehow a magic reset button is pressed. The craziness of the holidays is behind us, but a whole new year is ahead of us, fresh and ready for the picking. What do we want to achieve? What do we want to do? How do we want to improve? It can be a lot of pressure all at once following a very busy time of year.

That being said, I feel excited for what lies ahead, but I think I would feel like that anyways, whether it was the start of a new year or not. I feel like my sentiments towards new years and the pressure we put on ourselves is messy, I like to reflect on and appreciate where I am and think to the future, but not just because it’s a new year. I think a new year is a great time to pause and reflect, but doesn’t necessarily mean we have to put pressure on ourselves. I feel like a lot of the time it’s a recipe for frustration and perceived failure because we don’t stick to something we decided on January 1. 

I know for some that the new year is the time when they set goals and it helps them stick to them; we all work differently, so for those of you who love the start of a new year, I’m here cheering you on. But just in case I haven’t explained myself well, maybe left some of you confused or thinking I’m the Scrooge of new years, I found this quote thanks to my friend Ally that I think sums up perfectly my mantra for new years, goals, and (un)resolutions:

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.” 
― Neil Gaiman

I felt like that quote summed up perfectly that no matter what, we’re all still on the journey that we were on before, not to be afraid to try something and make mistakes. The beginning of a new year is awesome but it doesn’t mean we have started or finished, we are still on our way, still traveling on whatever journey we’re on. I really like that perspective, especially since I feel like many of us can feel so much pressure this time of year.  Setting goals and New Year’s resolutions is what I thought I wanted to talk but when I sat down to write this post, but I realized what resonated and what I wanted to talk about was intention.

Looking back over the last two years I have made plenty of mistakes, but I don’t regret them becasue they’ve got me to a moment in my life that I am excited about and proud of. That isn’t to say it’s perfect and smooth sailing (it isn’t by a long shot), but I’m content and have learnt to love the journey. Some days I will be angry and frustrated when things don’t turn out the way I hoped oir thought they would, but I’m learning that when that happens, when we make mistakes, we ultimately get where we’re meant to go.

Happy new year to all of you, may it be full of mistakes and amazing things.

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