No, I will not be making any resolutions today. Not a one. No, it's not because I don't believe in 'New Year's Resolutions,' not at all, it's because I do. But for me, today's New Year's is the result of a calendar flip. This may be cause for celebration but not, necessarily, in my experience, personal change. For me, personal change which results in a 'new year' comes from a moment, a situation, a devastation, a realization, that arises from every day experiences. In that moment I see myself, or my behaviour, in a new light, which, given the right resolution for change, can lead to a new day, a new year and a new way of life. Those are the only ones I've ever kept, or, more honestly, really tried to keep.
Like the moment when someone in my audience asked me a question that shook me to the core. It was after a lecture that went well, she was the last in line to speak to me, and then she did. And as a result of that question, I changed. I have worked really hard never, ever, ever, to use the B-word in reference to women ever again. Its been a rocky road, and I slipped many times, but success at changing is the result of a journey.
Like the moment I saw my face in the mirror when dealing with someone who had offended me, I had thought that I was being firm, and reasonable, and encouraging of discussion, but the mirror showed differently. I looked like an angry, bitter man. I had to be honest, I was angry, I was kidding myself and no one else. In that moment I resolved to be honest about what I feel, be aware of the power that I have, particularly when I'm feeling powerless, and remember the humanity on the other side of the conversation. I've been better at saying, "I'm really angry right now, but not at you, at the situation I find myself in ..." particularly when I'm speaking to someone who doesn't have the power to make change and certainly didn't have the power to cause the problem. I find myself more effective an advocate when I remember who I am and the power I have in interactions of high stress or heightened frustration.
Like the moment where I felt that I was being kind and realized that what I was doing wasn't kindness it was merely civility. That was a big one for me, and I see it a lot when people expect more thanks from me for holding the door than they do from Joe for doing the same thing. It's not 'just what you do' when it's for an equal and 'an act of charity' when it's done for someone not seen as equal. Yikes.
Like the moment, to personal to write about, that led, on January 31st last year that lead to me picking up some weights and begin to work towards an increase in personal strength. It doesn't mean that I don't have days that I just don't want to do it, but there are more days than not that I do it anyways. A new path, even with a slight grade, was made for me and my relationship with my wheelchair.
These moments and thousands like them have allowed me the opportunity to think and reflect and resolve to do different or do better. This means that I get to have new days and new years over and over again throughout any given year.
Tomorrow the calendar will flip to a new date, it's not cause for me to become a new me. For that to happen, life has to happen, realization has to happen, and then change, or the struggle to change, happens.
So happy new year and may you have many new years many new days and many new ways over the course of this year.