Did you say your goodbyes to the last year? And I don’t mean sticking up your middle fingers and saying, “Farewell, sucka, see you never,” like you’re the rebel in a bad 90s teen flick. What’s unfortunate is that so many people get so incredibly sick of the bad year that they’re having and want it to be over asap without reflecting back on it, on all the challenges and growth, the sad moments and happy memories.
I used to be one of those people during a bad few years. I kept wanting to forget that year ever happened and naively look toward the future as a new year approaches. I thought to myself, Maybe this year… But this isn’t the right mindset to have. Every year, good or bad, teaches you something and you come out of it a slightly or majorly different person from who you were going into it. Ignoring this means you aren’t ready for the new year because you’re essentially the same person going into the last one. How do you ensure that this year will be any different?
What I did as the year ended was to write a farewell letter to 2019. I already knew going into it that it will be a challenging year–one that will force me to step up and be better. I was ready and I had braced myself for it, so I was also ready at the end of it to look back and properly break up with it. We had a tough but necessary relationship, and it truly felt like a relationship. I wanted to show my appreciation and respect, to thank it and say goodbye. I needed to have closure with it to have closure with who I was before 2019 changed me.
In my letter, I thanked it for challenging me the way I knew I had to be challenged. There could be no ill will towards a year that was simply doing what life does. Even though it is currently the new year, it is not too late for you to do the same, especially if you harbor any lingering resentment toward it or feel like nothing has changed except your calendar.
Get real about all the things you would want to say if the year were an actual person. Even if it was a toxic friend, you want that closure for yourself. And again, self-reflection is key. You are doing this for yourself. You are seeing how you changed, what you learned, how you got wiser, and what you still see as a To-Be-Continued journey.
For me, 2019 taught me that I can step up and be the adult I always thought I should be. It reestablished that family is important. It taught me what problems are worth stressing about–as in, pick my battles. I struggled with self-worth yet again, and that taught me what to focus on for the next year. It made me very sick and tired of bitter resentment and unhelpful states of self-pity. It made me face the fact that there is no real end to challenges–there are just different types of them and different ways to handle them.
Once you are done with your own letter, you are done. You have closed the chapter on that year, and it is time to regain hope as you face the future. It is time to welcome the new year (and what is scarier, the new decade). So keep out your pen–it is time to pen another letter. What does your intuition tell you this time, for the new year?
My intuition kicked back in (I am happy it is getting better because I felt like it had been muffled for quite a while). Just like how last year I knew 2019 would be fraught with challenges that will make me take on more responsibility for my life, I knew 2020 was going to be a momentous year of change and excitement. That is what I wrote about in my letter. I got excited about getting to know 2020, about my new friend who will be there for me to boost me up. 2019 tried to push me down with some tough love, knowing I could get back up each time–but it did not go easy on me. On the other hand, 2020 will be there with unconditional love and support. It will challenge me with exciting change rather than exhausting hardships. It will be a buddy that always tells me I can do it.
Reading back on both letters after I finished, I felt very complete. I felt ready. I felt wiser. I felt hopeful. I think it is important to take what you will of the year, and also not to malign it based on its not going the way you want. Maybe it won’t be your year. Does that make it a bad year? What can be your relationship to the year? How can you ensure that no matter how terrible the year, you will get what you need to get out of it? How can you move beyond blaming the year and taking control of your life? Ask yourself these questions to really set or appease your expectations. Journal your feelings and answers along with writing the letters.
Is 2020 going great for me so far? I’m working on it. It’s going, and I will make it great. I feel no time crunch.
Share with me down below how 2019 was for you and how you plan to make 2020! Let me know your thoughts on the changing years and your hopes for the decade.