Thursday, 1 January 2015

New Year, Same Old Me

Today is a Thursday. It is a Thursday much like any other Thursday, aside from the entirely inconsequential fact that it marks the end of the 2014th lap of the Earth around the Sun since the last time we reset to 0. It's a totally arbitrary point, and yet for some marks the beginning of a month without alcohol, a "new them", or any number of completely boring attempts to revitalise their crushingly empty lives.

January 1 is not a magic wand or a sci-fi portal that will just fix the things you want fixed in your life. There are literally a million different factors that will lead to that: your own well-being, the people around you, the stress at your job - and of course, there are a thousand factors influencing that. You can't stop yourself getting suddenly ill because someone sneezed on you; you can't prevent your partner from leaving because they've got wunderlust to head to Borneo; and you can't sidestep your boss' ire because his daughter got a tattoo he didn't approve of.

All of these things are utterly out of your control, and they will colour and affect your projects in the year ahead. There are a few things to do when faced with your total powerlessness in the face of the universe, and they are as follows:

  1. Laugh, embrace the absurdity of it all, and do your best to struggle through.
  2. Become incredibly angry at the sheer unjust nonsense of it all, and do your best to struggle through.
  3. Adopt a Stoic approach, become unemotional, and wall yourself off from humanity. Struggle through, though this time alone.
This year there will be failures by the truckload. If I have learnt anything this year - and the jury's still out on that one - it's this, and only this: embrace failure because it helps you learn. Helps, mind you. It doesn't make you learn. That's one of the few areas where only you can effect change; a tiny little micro-space where it's just you and your failure. Embrace it. Learn from it so you can fail a bit better next time. Be like Buzz Lightyear; eventually, you'll start failing with style, and when that happens you'll fool everyone into thinking you're flying.

This year I'm going to keep learning how to code; I'm going to keep learning how to manipulate images; I'm going to keep learning Russian and I'm going to get a job. Not because it's January 1, but because yesterday happened, and tomorrow will happen, and in a week it'll be Thursday again. In a year this planet will be back here, relative to the Sun, but the Sun will have moved and so will everything else.

Relative to all of the billions of moving planets and stars and clouds of gas out there, we're not in the same place we were last year. We're not even in the same place we were when you started reading this blog. Everything is always moving, and that includes us. So here's my suggestion: sling out arbitrary lines and make a plan that suits you. Draw, write, carve onto a mysterious monolith that appeared overnight and hums in D minor. Any way that you can, get a plan. Stick to it (but remember you'll probably fail.) Re-assess. Draw, write, paint in the blood of a pure-white lamb. Fail again, but with more success. Rinse, repeat, and before you know it you'll be flying.

You might also start wondering about other arbitrary dates like birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations. Do not question them. They are for others to mark the passage of time. It is best not to ask why, because they might tell you.