Friday, December 30, 2022

Good Riddance

Let me ask you something: as the year draws to a close, how many persons around you are sad to see it go? Or more personally, are you sad to see it go? 

When was the last time you were sad to see a year go? 

One of the trends that I've been noticing over the past several years is this kind of rejoicing every time new year's comes around. Every time we're ready to throw away the old calendar and open a brand new one, the sentiment seems to be the same: good riddance

Good riddance to another bad year, to another year of trials and troubles, to another season of my life where things were hard and life didn't seem to go the way I intended it to go. Good riddance to all of the things that have been out of my control. Good riddance to failure. Good riddance, you horrible old year, you. Nobody will be sad to throw you into the garbage.

It's heartbreaking to me how often, when we come to the end of a new year, we seem to just hate our lives and everything about them. 

If you watch social media throughout the year, you will see trials and troubles, yes. But you will also see joys and victories. You will see good times and great accomplishments and excited energies and big smiles. You will see happy moments. You will see big wins and little wins. You will see memories being made and relationships being restored and health being captured and strength standing tall. You will look at your friends' lives, maybe even your own, and you will smile some yourself because you just can't help but rejoice with those who rejoice. 

Then, it will be the end of December, and those very same friends who have filled their timelines with joy amidst their struggles will bitterly declare, good riddance. You, who have filled your timeline with unforgettable moments, will bitterly declare, good riddance

When did we become so bitter about living? 

There was a time, and it wasn't so long ago because I remember it well, when things leaned in the other direction. When persons mourned the end of a year because it had been a really good year for them. When we looked back at all we accomplished, all we enjoyed, all we relished about the past year, and there was something bittersweet about having to turn the page. Sure, we were excited about the opportunities that a new year brought, but it was not without our remembering all of the ones the prior year gave us. 

Fast forward, and we have lost the "-sweet" and simply become bitter somewhere. For some reason. 

It's been far too long since I've heard anyone say, "You know what? This is a little sad for me. This year was a good year in my story, and I'm going to miss it." 

I don't want to be that person. I don't. And I don't want you to be that person, either. 

2022 was a hard year. Sure, it was. I spent months grinding it out in a rehab gym, trying to get some kind of semblance of my life back after almost two years of battling Covid. And I could look back and say, "Man, it was a hard year. I fought so hard. It took everything I had." Or, I could look back and say, "This was the year I rang the bell." This was the year that I beat Covid, finally. This was the year I got my life back. This was the year I started running again. This was the year I took my first full, deep breaths in a very, very long time. 

Or, ideally, I could look back and say both - this was a year I fought hard and gave it everything I had and this was the year I rang the bell. Both are true, and both are okay, and both are good. Not good riddance, but just good.

And that's really what I worry about the most as I see us all grumbling in the final days of another year - when we just keep saying good riddance, we bid riddance to all of the good things that happened to us this year - all of the opportunities that we got, that we really got, that we capitalized on, which were the same opportunities (and more!) that we were looking forward to at this time last year. Last year, at this time, you dreamed of so many of the amazing things that you actually did this year, that actually happened for you. 

Now, here you are, throwing them out with the ragged pages of one more calendar because...because why? Because every one of your breathing moments was not sunshine and rainbows? 

Do not bid riddance to the good. This year has been a beautiful, incredible, glorious part of your story, and you ought to do all you can to celebrate that, to hold onto it, to use it as a springboard to launch you into bigger and even better things next year. Imagine how high you can soar if you don't tear your whole life down to rubble every December 31 and try to start over; imagine how high you can climb if you start with your victories and not your defeats. 

I encourage you this year, as we turn the page, to celebrate all that 2022 has been for you. To recognize all of the good things that came your way, all the goals you achieved, everything you worked for. Acknowledge the hard stuff, absolutely, but don't let it swallow up all the good. Don't let it bury the fact that this wasn't wholly a bad year. Some incredible things happened, too. 

And as the clock counts down to midnight, remember those. Remember that this year may not have been everything you dreamed of, but it was some of those things. It may not have been easy, but there was something good about it anyway. Something worth writing into the pages of your story from this year, probably many things. 

Not good riddance, but thank you. 

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