As the New Year roles around all of us face the inevitable task of looking back at everything that has happened in the past year. We find ourselves desperately cataloging everything good that has happened to us, but the one thing we always seem to dread to looking back at is everything we’ve lost in the past year. I’ve made it a point to try and do just that, because loss is too often associated with negativity. It doesn’t always have to be. Looking at what we’ve lost allows us to realize that we took important steps throughout the year to rid ourselves of some aspects of our lives that maybe weren’t so good for us.
I’ve lost hair, weight, really expensive textbooks, partners, a pet, and the list goes on. While I miss some of those things much more than others, each loss forced me to consider who I am as a person. As the past year progressed I found myself constantly relying on other people and things to shape who I am as a person, not realizing that I wouldn’t be able to figure out how to live in this 20-something body until I had nothing else but it to keep me company.
New Years resolutions tend to be the standard: lose weight, exercise more, quit smoking, etc. Those all seem easy enough until we actually try to do them. I’ve never been one for New Years resolutions, simply because I’m bad at keeping promises to myself, but this year I’ve decided to make a resolution. I think we should all start being more selfish. Not in the greedy capitalist way we often think about when he hear the word greedy, but I think we should all try adopting a self-help-book kind of life, at least for the next year.
Realize when you lose something and grieve for it, whether it’s another person or the five-dollar bill you swore you had in your wallet. Recognizing loss forces us to realize what we actually consider important. By the end of 2015 I realized that understanding my own body is the only way to understand someone else’s. That’s why I’m starting off 2016 by being selfish, by listening to what my body has to say and letting myself feel it. I had to lose a host of different things to realize that I’d been ignoring my own body’s needs. Losing something rarely feels good, but it doesn’t always have to be a miserable dead-end. As I lose 2015 I’m allowing myself to indulge in the same sense of starting over that everyone wearing funny glasses and drinking champagne feels.