I met a lot of strangers in 2013.
I had no other choice.
I started a brand new job, begged countless editors to let me write for their darling websites, and went on what felt like a million first dates. I had the chance to spend an evening picking the brain of one of my favorite fiction authors, failed at making new friends during my audition for The Bachelor, and even found myself lost in the wise words of a stranger , who told me the way i dressed was a cross between a Teletubbie and the clearance rack of Forever 21 (he’s half right about that).
I have a friend who loves to remind me that people don’t change. And i always struggle to believe her, to latch on to the crazy concept that who we are on April 1st 2013 who will will be on April 1st 2014. Maybe it’s true. Parts of us roll over every year like unused cellphone minutes or library late fees. But parts of us don’t.
Some of the most valuable advice that’s been shoved in my face this year was from people that i hardly knew.
A homeless man on Allen street asked me if i knew anything about love before telling me that when you find a person who keeps your heart bouncing, hold on to them forever. Take them in your arms and never let them go.
The advice was unwarranted.
I was just pivoting in circles with a friend trying to figure out where the cheapest place to eat pizza at 9pm was and that’s what he told us. I’ll never forget him or that moment or that piece of advice.
Here’s what i think: There’s lots of things in life we don’t have control over. Things like how much time we have left on this earth or how much time other people have. But other things we absolutely do.
We all ultimately know exactly what we should do. It’s true. When we’re making a decision, the answer is filing it’s nails in our stomachs (listen to your gut) or causing you to have a burst of indigestion. Trust it.
Sometimes, we don’t. Sometimes we do the opposite because it feels safe or because we make mistakes. But that’s okay – because at least we did something. And that’s a start. So write down your resolution and say it under your breath as you count down while that glittering ball falls from the sky. And when January 1st kisses you hello, don’t hesitate. Get started.
Be the first to talk to a stranger, press the send button on an email that makes the butterflies scratch inside your stomach, pick up the phone and dial the number of a person you haven’t spoken to in 6 very long months and tell them that you’re sorry (and if it’s true – tell them that you love them).
Our resolutions often stay unchecked off our lists, with the best intentions, like how sometimes our shoelaces dangle on the concrete, making us fully aware but temporally unable to do anything about them. If you want to change, if you want your days, your months, your year to have a different meaning than the one before, get started now.
Even if you’re unsure how you’re going to continue or what your ultimate game plan is, start today and then wake up tomorrow and start again. Don’t wait until July 4th to realize all the blabbering you poured out over a glass of champagne as the ball was about to drop on New Years Eve went unresolved. Evaluate your progress often and if you’re not making any progress, don’t hesitate to just start again.
To tell you the truth, our lives don’t change just because it’s a new year. They change everyday we decide to do something different.
May your new year be filled with lots of “I love you’s”, brilliant mistakes, and wild bursts of success! I hope whatever it is you’re working toward – now & forever – you remember to just never give up.
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