By Stef Skinner

3…2…1… Happy New Year!

It’s officially the New Year, which brings a clean slate…a fresh start for everyone. If only it were as easy as a countdown to shed those pounds you’ve successfully gained over the past few weeks; find that love you’ve been searching for,; or become that humanitarian you’ve always wanted to be.

When the clock strikes midnight and ball drops down in Times Square, it seems like a spell has been cast over everyone, refreshing the City with a new breed of New Yorkers… The Hopefuls.

People suddenly remember the manners they learned; they say, “excuse me,” “thank you,” and if you’re in the right place at the right time, someone may even let you go first instead of just pushing you out of the way or completely ignoring your existence.

That first week of the New Year in the City–after all of the confetti has settled–I look around the train and can barely keep count of the gym bags, the yoga mats, and, even sometimes, the smiles. The trains, streets, and restaurants are even more crowded at a more ‘normal’ hour because those who had flaked on dinner plans most of the year are now ‘catching up’ as part of their resolution to be a better friend, or a better person for that matter. All over the City there is a sense of nostalgia: “Wow, this is what ‘normal’ people do instead of sitting inside of an office all night” or “look at all the plans I have now that I’ve decided to STOP ditching my friends.”

Weeks go by, people are feeling great, maybe even a few are finally fitting back into their pre-holiday binge clothing and the feeling of accomplishment is overwhelming.

The Hopefuls are now feeling better about themselves, only to forget that there are 11 more months to go. Suddenly, February creeps up and the gym bags occupy less and less space on the crowded train. Other hopeful resolutions seem to crumble, as well:

I’ll go to the gym tomorrow(donut in hand).

I’m going to be working late so will need to reschedule drinks (let’s get together in a few weeks, so many work deadlines).

The place I wanted to volunteer at is closed weekends (I would rather sleep in).

The excuses are endless.

Now The Hopefuls become the ‘hopeless.’ They go back to their old ways and just to wait for another clean slate…because there’s always next year.

I, too, am a ‘Hopeful’ this new year, but this time I’m not going to try and lose those ten pounds, become a humanitarian or conquer the world, because ultimately I will set myself up for failure. I will not be on the elliptical next to you, but I will smile at you when I see you with your gym bag. This year, I’m hopeful to work on becoming the best version of myself, whichever way that may be: hobbies, going outside of my comfort zone, and yes, maybe even smiling at someone I don’t know while walking down the street.

If you can’t commit to the typical resolutions, may you find the best version of yourself this year, no matter how you have to get there.

“Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution after the excitement of the moment has passed.”- Cavett Robert

Here’s to a new you, a new me, and the possibilities that may be.


Featured image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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