How is 2023 here?
Shifting from one year to the next is always a bit strange. It’s a transition that calls for a raw, sentimental kind of contemplation. And if you’re like me and already prone to overthinking 365 days a year, the arrival of a new year and new beginnings can be a bit overwhelming.
While trying to wrap my mind around the arrival of 2023, I’ve gone through a mix of emotions lately. I’m both excited and nervous about a new beginning. But more than anything, I’m struggling to overcome my disbelief. I mean seriously, how did we get to 2023? Something about it still seems almost mythical. The year once sounded so far away. It was a safe place to rest my hope. But 2023 is here, and with it comes a voice in my head asking, “Am I really where I’d thought I’d be by now?”
I suppose it’s natural, inevitable even, for us to ask ourselves these kinds of questions as we anticipate the year’s end. The end of one year and the start of another marks a clear passage of time that we can’t ignore. Though something about the onset of 2023 feels different.
Longing for New Beginnings But…
I remember the eagerness I felt last year on New Year’s Eve. I longed for a fresh start after 2021’s tumultuous reign. But now I wonder if part of me may still be stuck in 2022. Time keeps moving but I haven’t fully moved on with it. I’m still looking into the past, desperate to grasp the time I’ve lost amongst the mess of my fuzzy memories.
I have to wonder if I’d still feel this way if it weren’t for the pandemic. Initially, I’d like to say no but with further consideration, I know the pandemic isn’t solely to blame. This tension between past and present has always existed. There is something, a kinetic force of sorts, that pulls us against the grain. It keeps us turning our heads backward and forward, oftentimes missing what is directly in front of us.
So often I feel an impulse to do more, to be more, to reach what I imagine stability may look like. And after taking an unexpected detour over the last two years, I feel myself anxious to press down on the gas. There is a fear inside of me that questions if slowing down means I’ll fall behind. Or, another part of me wonders, is it possible to still reach my destination without going full speed ahead?
I find this dichotomy to be both fascinating and disheartening. We spend so much time making plans for days that are not guaranteed to come. We spend our lives reaching for the future, immune to the present moment. And through it all, we never do quite get used to the passage of time. We comment constantly on how the days and weeks fly by. I’ve celebrated New Year’s Eve and new beginnings dozens of times and still, its arrival strikes me as surreal. Time is the one thing we can never get enough of and yet it’s so easily wasted.
I’m reluctant to believe I’m the only one greeting 2023 with mixed emotions. I’ve noticed lately how others often pause before or just after mentioning 2023 in conversation. Perhaps many of us are in disbelief with parts of ourselves still existing in the past. Could 2023 be the year that brings us into the light?
I have yet to decide what my resolutions for 2023 may be. I’ve never been exceptionally good at sticking to those anyway. If I’m being honest, I’m stepping into 2023 with a degree of cautious optimism. It’s not that I mean to be skeptical but after the last two years, attaching my hopes to a prescribed date or time seems like a path to disappointment. Instead, while it may sound contradicting, I’m trying to be more open-minded, something I’m admittedly not always good at.
As questions of what if saturate my brain in these final days of December, it’s difficult to not feel disappointed or dissatisfied. It’s hard to resist the urge to plan for the year ahead. But instead of giving in to temptation, I’m going to do my best to simply just exist as I am right here, right now.
I don’t know what is in store for 2023, and while I could bore you with a list of goals, if there’s anything the last two years have taught me it’s that the future cannot be predicted. We can create all the lists and timelines and plans we want but all we really have is the present. I haven’t always been very good at recognizing this. It seems about time I start before another year is said and done. There must be something good that can come from appreciating the time we have before it passes by.