Dear 2016 —
December 31, 2015
Dear 2016 –
It’s not often that I write to a collection of numbers that collectively constitute a “year” (I’m more accustomed to, and experienced with, writing to human beings of all shapes and sizes) so please forgive me if my style and/or tone is a bit unusual. My intent is what matters, I hope you know, because sometimes the very act of writing, whether a work will actually be read or not, can be liberating, enlightening and rewarding. So that’s why I’m doing it.
In this case, 2016, because you will soon arrive with all your pomp, circumstance, confetti, sound makers, concerts, countdowns, dropping balls, and fireworks, I just thought I’d catch you before you got crazy. And before I fall asleep, too, because, you see, the chance of me staying awake until midnight to party with you this year is slim to none. As 2015 comes to a close, I’m worn out, tired, exhausted, somewhat frustrated, healing on a few levels yet optimistic, and in desperate need of good sleep.
So what’s the purpose of my letter? That’s simple. I’m writing to let you know the “Mike” you will soon encounter repeatedly in the upcoming year will be a little different from the “Mike” you have become used to seeing. No, this isn’t a resolution and I’m not talking a different hair color or wardrobe, nor am I talking a different accent and/or job, there’s more to it. What I am talking about is attempting a different demeanor, posture, approach and intent as the calendar turns. At least that’s my hope.
This might be difficult to explain but let me try. In Alfred Souza’s poem entitled “Time Waits for No One,” Souza talks about many of the traps we fall into as we live a life of always looking ahead towards the unknown future. We hope, wish, and even long for what might lie ahead the next day, week, month, or even year rather than live more in the moment, see what is in front of us, and try to be more present with each and every moment of the day. Time, he asserts, is a precious commodity that we must embrace. Now. Right now.
“We convince ourselves that life will be better after we get married, have a baby, then another,” Souza shares. “We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when our partner gets his or her act together, when we get a nicer car, are able to go on a nice holiday, or even when we retire.”
But that’s not the case.
By waiting “until you lose ten pounds, until you gain ten pounds, until you have kids, until your kids leave the house, until you start work, until you retire, until you get married, until you get divorced, until Friday night, until Sunday morning, until you get a new car or home, until your car or home is paid off, until spring, until summer, until winter, until your song comes on, until you’ve had a drink….” you leave yourself with no time to be happy.
Does that make sense, 2016? I hope so.
For me, 2015 was a terrific year of experiences, memories, growth, enlightenment, and even an awakening or two. Through every trial, tribulation, victory, loss, illness, healing, misstep, and passage, I learned more about myself as an individual, a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a cousin, a neighbor, and a friend. I learned to see myself not just as a reflection in a mirror, or as the outward appearance of a new outfit or hairstyle, but as a complete person with feelings, hopes, dreams, and aspirations. I also learned that in words unspoken, and attempts unreciprocated, we can become more isolated and alone.
Paraphrasing Brendon Burchard, to make room on our plates for the new, we must clear away the old. “Do not move on to 2016 without letting go of something significant from 2015, an old idea, label, habit, fear, concern of ego. Let go to free up the whitespace for something new to enter,” he says.
So this letter to you, 2016, is my attempt of saying I’m clearing space and letting go. I’ll try hard, really hard, to brush aside resentment, rejection, anger, fear and uncertainty so that I can be ready for what, I believe, will be coming. There is no better time to be happy than right now. If not now, when?
Of course I know it won’t be easy. I’m a creature of habit, a keeper of lists, a lover of order, a capital letter “P” planner, and a person who embraces the straight, narrow, and the known. Shifting posture toward the moment will be a challenge.
Jason Mraz wrote a beautiful song entitled, “Living in the Moment.” I’m kind of convinced he wasn’t thinking about me when he penned the lyrics.
But that’s not to say it can’t and won’t happen. Moving more to the moment is my hope as you arrive, 2016.
You see, wherever I’m going – and there will be many planned and unanticipated locales in this new year – I’m already home.
So welcome, 2016. I’m glad you are here.