January 01, 2014

Happy “Srsly. OMG. New” Year

I think sometimes we forget to change. Times change, we know we need to change too, but we forget. This especially applies to those of us who are old enough to have maybe earned a college diploma or changed jobs more than one or two times. We anticipate difficulties and obstacles, just as part of staying where we are. We get jaded. That’s when “new” starts to mean a new hat and maybe painting over the stain on the front porch, and “new year” becomes something along the lines of this overnight tweet from the Angry Birds video game:

That’s why I am not wishing you a “happy new year” but a “happy ‘Srsly. OMG. New’ year.” It’s a reminder that “new” can include a fundamental change in the way you approach life and your place in the world. New Year’s Day is the one day every year when we symbolically revisit the Big Bang. The Big Bang was the original cosmic event in which primal physical constructs such as time, place, color, direction, and energy gained their meaning. New Year’s Day is a good day to attach new meanings to anything in life, even things as basic as those.

Why do something new? Change because you can! Many, actually most of our habits and patterns are defensive constructs — we created them on the spot to meet the demands of the world around us. Some of those demands we react to are from our childhoods, or from last year. We may imagine we are still seeing them, but in reality they are no longer there in our present surroundings. That implies that we no longer have to stick to the solutions we found for them at the time. We’re always free to take a fresh look at what the world expects of us now, and what better time than on a holiday set aside for just that purpose?

I use the phrase “Srsly. OMG. New” for a reason. Most of us are afraid to change too abruptly. We are afraid of shocking the people around us. It is a touch of paranoia, perhaps — you can make huge changes, and you still have to make a fuss about them for people to notice. If the changes you make are somewhat sensible or functional, what was there before is quickly forgotten. I will offer some examples in the hope that these ring true. An overweight acquaintance reduces their body weight by 25 percent, and someone reacts by saying, “You look different! Did you get a haircut?” Ten years ago, a family on my street tore down their house and rebuilt it from the ground up with a house of a different style. You couldn’t imagine a bigger change on the street, yet within a year, everyone had forgotten what the old house looked like. A famous singer who had never been known to touch an instrument surprised her audience by sitting down at the piano to play a song. She played beautifully, and the audience may have applauded ten percent louder or longer as a result of this surprise. You may as well go ahead and try to shock people with your new habits and style — as long as the changes you attempt make some kind of sense, it virtually isn’t possible to change so fast that you confuse people.

So go ahead! It’s the new year. You probably have an intuition about what is possible for you. Pick a wish or a whim that appeals to you, and do something “Srsly. OMG. New.”

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