It’s such a tempting idea: how the new year is a reset, a chance to start over. Unfortunately, we are not AIs and there is no such thing. As I fumbled through the first day of 2017, cleaning, throwing unnecessary things away, making lofty to-do lists with my new very analog journal, I tricked myself into thinking that I could force my way into a clean slate, kick the door down somehow. But the only slate that was really clean was my tiled floor, washed white and germ-free with my favorite power detergent.
I had been watching Travelers on Netflix and in one episode, the lead programmer-Traveler “resets” another Traveler (a present-day human inhabited by a solider sent from the future to complete a mission) named Marcy. Marcy’s previous personality was fragile, sickly, endearing. After the reset, in which a different Traveler inhabits her body, she becomes pragmatic, tougher, and a sniper. In that same lump of flesh lived an entirely different person, but even she had to deal with Marcy’s past — where she lives, who she lives with, her illness, her fuck ups. Even for her, there was no such thing as starting over; only a kind of change in perspective.
On a designated day, the start of a new calendar, we resolve to be different from how we’ve been our entire lives. There is that temptation to reinvent, to forget everything that sucked and forage on as the “new you.” But there is still laundry to be done, carried over bills to be paid, and memories to cope with. I guess this is why the best resolutions are to-do lists that focus on repair. That “balik alindog program” seems cheesy and the term most certainly needs an update (been hearing that since the ‘90s), but it works because it’s not founded on the delusion that one can just transform into a different person without putting in the work. It’s a concrete goal that not just a dive blindly into the future — it shows a mindfulness of past mistakes, of where we fell short, and comes with a plan.
On my first practice of the year, my teacher was on vacation. I am always rattled every time a sub teaches because you come to class expecting to get something that has brought you comfort and calmness. Change is not a purveyor of calm.
During vampire pose, we were asked to incorporate some suspension fitness drills, in which we had to drop one leg and lean our upside down selves away from it. It was the best stretch, but coming up, we all got dizzy. And it was not the teacher or the pose. We’ve all done it before. It was the past — couple of weeks, to be exact — coming back to haunt us. Everything that we ate, the lack of sleep, the mixing of morning coffee with a shot of Bailey’s. Everything.
I am product of the past few days, months, years. And the past few days have all been spent indulging in two cups of rice per meal and sleeping at 3 a.m. I wanted to “start over” and I got it. It felt like I have never done anti-gravity yoga in my life.
There is a lesson here somewhere. To me, it’s that clean slates are overrated and imaginary. Since we were born, we’ve been works in progress. Who wants to find themselves back to square one? The internet has done a great job at promoting how big of a clusterfuk 2016 was, but I’ve seen just as many posts thanking last year for it’s blessings. It’s weird that we thank years now, but that’s a gripe for another day. For now, I’m just thinking, Keep on keepin’ on. It’s all we can do, anyway.