Janus: The two-faced Roman god of beginnings and transitions; with one face looking forward, and the other looking back; also the god after whom the month of January is named. Apropos, to say the least – at the start of each New Year, we often find ourselves looking forwards, while looking back. It’s always great to learn from the past, but a word of caution: treat the past as you would a car’s rearview mirror – glance into it now and then, and you can plan your moves. Stare at it for too long, however, and you smash right into what’s in front of you.
On this, the beginning of the month of Janus’ namesake, I look back to the year that was, and I breathe a huge sigh of relief that I survived the rollercoaster ride that was 2016. Sure, I may have come off that ride with more than a touch of nausea, ragged at the edges, with a few frayed nerves here and there – but, on the overall, I find I am none the worse for the wear. WHEW.
Indeed, in 2016, our mettle was tested, in more ways than one. For example, we endured great shaking, in many areas; we experienced dismaying results, in the arena of global politics; heartache was the order of the day, time and again, as we emerged from worldwide chaos and tragedy. Yet, we did not lose our grip – and those who held fast came out stronger.
I wish I could say with any certainty whatsoever that 2017 will be a year devoid of great trials and record-breaking spirit breakers. But I can’t. None of us can. As optimistic as we all try to be, life generally has its own ideas.
BUT here’s what I CAN do: I can hope and believe that it will be. I can stay as positive as my own limited human spirit allows me to be. I can focus on enduring, and developing an even stronger, more persistent mettle. And I can ACT in fulfillment of these hopes. I can commit to not giving up; to developing a “stickitoitivity” and tenacity possessed by that good old dog with a bone.
I hereby resolve
I do not like to “make resolutions” or big statements of “I shalls and I shants” at the start of each year, for I find that these all too quickly fall by the wayside as the calendar rolls around and the new hope and idealism that generally accompany January give way to the romanticism that marks February. Just about everything – even things we have deemed ugly and needing change – looks good with rose-colored lenses after all.
Instead, I RESOLVE. Or REVOLT, as the situation requires.
Although resolution implies the act of resolving, merely making one is no guarantee– especially if it is simply a part of a New Year tradition. Speaking forth your resolutions becomes nothing more than lip service designed to plump up your ego or assuage your conscience if there is no follow through. Writing resolutions down is a mere waste of paper if action is remiss. These are part of a good start. But beginnings are only as fruitful as their end result. Outcome is the goal, and the path between start and finish is paved with willful determination. Or at least it must be. RESOLVE. Commit to change, and DO IT.
Perhaps some of my favorite definitions of the word are: To change or convert; to bring to a usually successful conclusion; and – decidedly my most favorite one – to render parts of (an image) visible and distinct.
What do you see in your head? What is the image you have of yourself? Of your life situation? Whatever this image, whatever you would like to see, do what it takes to make it come to pass; do what is required to make it visible and distinct in your life!
When revolution is the solution
Then there is revolution. The things that require radical change from the roots. The things in our life that necessitate an upheaval that goes beyond simple adjustment or superficial change. That toxic, go-nowhere relationship in which you have been since countless New Year’s ago, for instance. That bad habit you have been meaning to ditch for forever and a day, for another. That dead-end job which has taken your last-bit of self-worth, for yet another. These require REVOLT. And guts of steel to do it.
By all means, make your lists and grand declarations if you have to. But by even greater means, DON’T STOP THERE.
ACT. Break away from the same-old-same-old pitfall of talking the talk without walking the walk. We all know the highly overused cliché. All together now, with feeling: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. We need to keep in mind – ever before our consciousness – that whatever is worth achieving is also worth the effort and the sacrifice. This should be our mantra, as we work towards bringing about change, drastic or otherwise.
Hang in there, you’re not alone!
In all difficulties you encounter, ENDURE. Hang in there, however you possibly can.
GUTS. GUMPTION. These will turn things around for us and achieve the change we desire in 2017.
And as we resolve or revolt, there will be times we will have do so alone. But most times we do so with the support of those nearest and dearest to us. And sometimes, even with help from strangers.
This is one of life’s comforts: The fact that we do not have to always go through it alone. Those with whom we journey help us to endure. They teach us valuable life-lessons along the way. They make the trek all the more interesting and – hopefully – all the more worthwhile. They are the sugar to our spice; the sweet to our bitter; or the other way around, as the case may be. They are those for whom we are thankful, new year after New Year.
Looking to the recent past, and to the future that unfolds with the month of the god with two faces: Let us look back and learn; let us look forward and hope; let us look to the now, and endure – even rise above. And let us change and grow throughout this whole process.
By ANGIE DUARTE