I had a moment on New Year’s Eve where I thought about going to bed before midnight. It would have been easy – I was in my room, lying down, waiting for the minutes to tick closer to 12. For the first time in my life, I realized a year is a collection of days and in some ways the start date is meaningless and arbitrary. Particularly because the Jewish New Year, which takes place in September or October, seems more in alignment with marking the phases of my life.
I think the other reason the start of the new year didn’t excite is me because I’ve blown past all the mile markers I set for myself, and others set for me. A psychic told me by age 30 I’d have two elementary-aged children. Another told me in 2017 I’d meet my romantic partner. Two years ago I thought I’d be engaged this past winter. Those dates came and went without any of the predictions coming true. I bring that up because this is the first year I have zero expectations for the year. This is the first time the year ahead of me is a big question mark.
All around me people are making their new year’s resolutions or intentions or goalsetting while I’m not. A part of me feels anxious about that, like I should be doing the same thing because otherwise the year will be terrible and I’ll be miserable, but I also realize the year is a collection of days and can start over at any time. Instead of freaking out that I haven’t planned my whole life, I’m recognizing I can make plans when I’m ready. I know goals are important because they give us direction, but right now I’m building my trust muscle, trusting that when it’s time for me to make a goal, I will. It could be a random day in April and that would be fine.
This year I’m understanding more deeply the future is not laid out before me like a bread crumb trail. The future is a culmination of past actions, some that are out of my awareness.
My spiritual teacher said, “The stars do not control you; your original actions control you. And where the original action is not known to you, but the result is known to you, the result is experienced by you, you say it is fate.”
There’s a freedom in realizing my past actions dictate my future because it means anything is possible. It means I could head in any direction and anything could happen to me this year. Life is a precious collection of moments that are largely unplanned. I don’t want to miss out on the treasures because I’m too busy following a schedule I set for myself. This year I’m really and truly open to whatever is and that feels like a good thing.
I dream of a world where we take the pressure off ourselves to plan our whole lives. A world where we realize the new year can start for us at any time. A world where we remember plans are more like guidelines and nothing is set in stone. A world where we recognize fate belongs to us and we can take our time.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.