I have been dodging the “New Year fever”, foolishly thinking that I was immune to the anxiety it can bring, but it has finally caught up with me, and I am scared.
By: Thanduxolo “Thandz” Buti
Image by: Brunel Johnson – Unsplash
Two years ago I made a conscious decision to purge myself of the New Year spirit. I stopped anxiously waiting for the clock to strike 00h00 on the 31st, so I can give countless hugs and send messages to people wishing them a glorious year.
As far as I was concerned celebrating New Year’s Day – and the days that follow – was just another way of submerging oneself to the anxieties that come with believing that the New Year meant that life would miraculously be great again.
I stopped believing that like the fireworks, life goes Boom! And everything falls into place – you will be happier, find love, make more money and get that dream job – and all your failures would be left in the year before.
Isn’t that why many people wait with bated breath for the clock to strike midnight so they can lean into the hope that the upcoming year would finally be their “time to flourish?”
That is how the devilish New Year’s resolutions start flooding in. I say devilish because once again many set unrealistic goals for the year, believing that all of them will magically come true.
My new philosophy is that everyday is a choice, an opportunity to turn your life around or to fiercely pursue your dreams whether you fail or succeed.
I personally had to let go of all the promises that come with the New Year because of the anxiety they can bring. Because you spend most of the year chronically looking at the time, waiting for your fortune to finally fall in your lap.
But, the more the days pass without any success, the more you panic, until it snowballs into fear that lacerates you. Before you know it the year is about to end again and you are still where you were when the clock struck midnight.
That is why I adopted a new philosophy, which is that everyday is a choice, an opportunity to turn your life around or to fiercely pursue your dreams whether you fail or succeed. But first, that meant I had to let go of the habit of using the end of the year as a benchmark to rate whether I have succeeded or failed in achieving my dreams.
However, because I am still a part of society, I sometimes find myself falling back to the old formula. When you live in a world that still subscribes to sitting with a pen, excruciatingly ticking with every passing year whether you are ticking boxes (progressing), it can be hard to carve your own path to the life of your dreams.
Like many, when the curtain call for the year draws closer and closer I battle with the anxiety of whether or not I made the most of the year. I look around with sweaty palms and self-annihilate while scrolling through social media posts of people listing their achievements for the year.
It doesn’t help that this feeling envelopes me while I am home for the holidays and surrounded by the prying eyes of my family, childhood friends and community.
However being part of society that’s never enough – a lit year is mostly measured by numbers, accolades, acquisitions, dominance and money. –
Instead of maintaining the ‘I don’t give a fuck’ attitude, for a moment I am engulfed with doubt. Am I on the right path? Am I a failure? Am I lazy? Am I self-sabotaging? Is the world against me? Should I continue on? – and it goes on and on.
As a creative whose career is mostly centered on freelancing, it doesn’t help that there is little surety in my field. I step into the New Year not knowing how my life will unfold. All I can do is keep creating and hope that the work will eventually generate some sort of traction or get discovered by the “right” person.
Sure, it’s great to go to bed knowing that you brought some of your ideas to life and shared them with the world even though the odds were against you. However, being part of society that’s never enough – a lit year is mostly measured by numbers, accolades, acquisitions, dominance and money.
So, a couple of days into the so-called year, #2020vision, and the beginning (or the end) of a decade, I am finding myself once again experiencing heart palpitations.
Whether or not I believe in the New Year, I find myself faced with the same predicament as many, asking myself if this will be my year of fortune? I am pacing around, wondering if this year my dream will pay off so I can finally prove all of them wrong.
But, in my hour of drowning in confusion I came to a realisation that there is truly no winning in this life equation. Whether or not you have a New Year’s resolution, subconsciously when the year folds you want to be able to have something to show. You want to say ‘I lived, I tried, I failed, I succeeded – I am not where I was the year before.”
Now all I can do is sit here, rocking back and forth, praying that this New Year fever will eventually dwindle away, so I can take out my sledgehammer and get to the real business of life – which is to live.