Before we've even pulled this year's calendar off the wall, so many of us are thinking about how next year is going to be different. It's going to be better. We're going to be different. We're going to be better. Then we stay awake to watch a new light fall onto the earth as we wash away one year and usher in the new one with the greatest intentions and fresh promise.
It's the charisma of our fairy tale: we're waiting on the clock to strike midnight for our chance to get out of this mess and into something real.
It's not worth the hype. I mean, what are you really waiting for?
We plan and wait and promise until our resolution is something so much grander than ourselves. It's this big, momentous occasion that the whole world is celebrating and while we're raising our glasses in a toast, we're harboring in our hearts our grand hopes for what is to come and then all of a sudden, we're overwhelmed by the fireworks and the wide open spaces and the empty pages and we shrink beneath the overarching grandness of all the stock we've put into something so simple as midnight. A single magic moment that, if we're honest, never lives up to its hype.
Because it's just not that big. It's fun. It's communal. It's tradition. It's a lot of things...but it's not as big a chance as we make it out to be. For no other reason than that we've made it too big.
At 12:01, we look around and realize that nothing has changed except that we want to. In that one minute, we start to question whether we still want to. Whether we even can. And whether it matters. Life is as we know it, and does it make much of a difference if we weigh a little less or earn a little more or upgrade or downgrade or whatever it is we've promised ourselves will make the difference?
It doesn't. At midnight tonight, it just doesn't. As perfect as it seems, as right a time to start anew, there's something missing. It just seems to me, from personal experience, that by midnight tonight, our hopes are still in it but our hearts are long gone.
That doesn't mean we shouldn't look to better ourselves. It doesn't mean we don't build new hopes, embrace new promises, engage in new disciplines. It doesn't mean we don't lose that weight or seek that promotion or upgrade or downgrade or whatever. It just means we stop waiting on the "right" time to go for it.
We stop waiting on this big, grand, ginormous moment that is so much bigger than ourselves...and start engaging this quiet, simple, right-now moment to bigger ourselves, to better ourselves...
While our hearts are still in it.
While our promise is fresh on our minds. While our hope is almost tangible, we can feel it so powerfully. While we're ready to make a new choice, to make a change, to go after our heart's desire.
That time is now. That time is the first moment you think it might be a good idea. It's not after you've planned and after you've debated and after you've waited and after midnight. It's now. While you're hungry. While you're thirsty. While you're inspired by the mere thought of it.
There are no perfect moments. There is no written time when we get that fairy tale experience. No split second where it's just going to happen and everything changes at once and our hopes are realized and our promises are present and our lives are changed. This isn't Disney.
But do you want to know a secret? If you take this moment, this hungry, thirsty, hopeful moment, to embrace what it is in your heart that you want to change - whether that moment is today or tomorrow or April 3rd or June 24th or September 13th or whenever it is - then that moment...becomes this moment. It becomes that big moment you were waiting for. It becomes that grand experience where this is it.
The weight lifts. A burden released. A promise embraced. A discipline begun. A real change.
It's not in perfect timing. It's imperfect timing. It's whenever it happens. It's today. It's tomorrow. It's two a.m. It's just not necessarily midnight.
If at midnight tonight, like so many others among us, your hope fades. If the clock strikes twelve and your grand fantasy is over and like Cinderella, you find yourself surrounded by your rags...don't fret. That's the fairy tale; that's how the story goes.
It wasn't your moment.
But now might be.