When I was younger, I started a new years family tradition: I’d give each one of us a small piece of paper to write our new years resolution on, fold them up and place them in a jar. We’d only be allowed to reopen them a few minutes before midnight the next new years eve. If we had achieved whatever it was we had resolved to do, then we could burn our piece of paper and write a new one for the coming year. If we hadn’t, then our piece of paper would remain in the jar and we’d be handed a new piece to add more resolutions to.
It was incredible how seriously we all took it, and how quickly it became a highlight of a night that always holds so much hope for a second chance, of rebirth and renewal.
Being a bit of a pyromaniac, I loved watching as the orange-blue flames licked their way through and crisped my paper’s white frame. My youth (ok ok and super competitive streak) made my resolutions fairly straightforward and ultra repetitive:
- Read more books
- Get fit
- Get a job
and in the later years…
- Move out
- Move out
- Move out.
But for the last five years, our new years eve jar has remained empty. Growing up, travelling overseas, celebrating with friends and moving out all got in the way — as did the total fire bans (and people say climate change isn’t real!).
We have not kept up our tradition.
While this makes me a bit sad, I wonder whether I’d ever be able to burn my piece of paper now. The younger me was so focused on growing outwards, but now what I crave most is to grow inwards and purify myself of my own self-constructions and expectations.
These days, my resolutions are more fragile seedlings that require a lot of inner reflection, patience and perseverance to fruit; more centred around:
- Connecting with my purpose
- Forgiving myself
- Permitting myself to make mistakes
- Trusting myself
- Letting go of ego, pent-up anger and fear
- Deciding on my own moral compass
In other words, learning to understand and love myself.
And because of this, my resolutions will remain forever more in my new years eve jar; never to be licked by burning flames; neither added to nor subtracted from.
These resolutions will wait for me to revisit at the end of each year to see how far I’ve grown and how far I need to go to become the very best me I can ever be — why would I ever want to burn a resolution like that?