Goodbye, ’14; Hello, ’15

“Be at war with your vices,
at peace with your neighbors,
and let every new year find you a better man.”

-Benjamin Franklin

Here we are once again: the end of our calendar year. The Earth has revolved around the sun one more time. We have gone through 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8,760 hours, 525,600 minutes, 31,536,000 seconds. How much has happened? How much have you done? Where have you gone? Was it a good year? A bad year? Did you lose weight? Gain weight? Did you gain friends or lose friends? Did you break promises? Did you reconnect with those long-lost friends? Did you respect? Did you love?

Did you stay true to your resolutions? What?! How do you expect us to remember our resolutions? That was a whole year ago! My question to you: why should that be so hard? Every single year, we stand in anticipation of the New Year, ready with our resolutions. We think, Okay. THIS is the year. I will change this year. We see all of our failures in the last year, noticing all of the potential in this next year. I want this year to be a good year. I will get in shape. I will improve my friendships. I will respect. I will love. The question is: Will you? But seriously, think about it. WILL YOU? These resolutions should be taken seriously. We cannot expect to change if we’re not willing to…well, change!

Once again, let’s take a look at this last year. Was it perfect? I doubt it. Did you perfect your friendships, Self-loathingyour relationships? I highly doubt it. Did you change in the ways you wanted to? I hope so. Probably not perfectly. Did you love perfectly? I doubt it. How should we respond to these thoughts? Wallow in self-pity? Stare into the abyss? Drink the night away to forget these failures? These all sound like terrible ideas. How often do we allow regrets to overcome us? We look to our past, thinking that these regrets will actually help. So, if we should not regret, why think about the past? Like we have established, we are not perfect; we tend to lead imperfect lives. As we tend to hear from History teachers, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it” (George Santayana). We need to understand our own past in order to improve our future. We must know our failures in order to learn to succeed.

How often do we attempt to make resolutions that we can never keep? “I won’t drink this year.” “I’m going to eat healthy this year.” “I’m not going to cuss.” If these are the resolutions we are making, they are probably things we need to changebut would have difficulty changing. We also present ourselves with very vague ideas of what we are going to do. If we want to change, we need concrete ideas of how we can improve ourselves and our lives in this coming year. We try to take the whole year by storm in one fell swoop through that idea of what needs to change. We say that this will change, and we won’t do that this year, but we never provide ourselves with how we will achieve those ends. For that reason, we fail. We make it hard for ourselves, because we give ourselves no guidance.

We also try to do it all on our own. Is it not completely appropriate that we begin our Mary Help of Christiansyear by celebrating the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (which is indeed a Holy Day of Obligation). Mary is known as the Help of Christians. We have the opportunity to begin our new year by seeking the help of our dear Mother. She can give us any assistance that we need as we begin this year. There is definitely no problem with making resolutions. It’s obviously a good thing – seeking to better oneself by looking at one’s past mistakes. Our Mama can help us. All we have to do is seek her help. If we give ourselves realistic resolutions, she can indeed give us the help and grace we need to achieve those goals, as any good mother would.

One of the most important aspects of seeking one’s own change: tFirst day - BrBaaking it one day at a time. We cannot expect to seek our entire self-improvement at one moment. We only need to seek to become our best selves each day. We must be able to accept that any changes we make must start today, on this day. Our change starts today. Today is the first day of the rest of our lives. We cannot change anything that has happened in the past. All that we can do is take what we are today and transform it in our days to come. Life comes at you fast, so just take it one day at a time, starting with this New Year.

“The best thing about the future
is that it comes one day at a time.”

-Abraham Lincoln

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Duc In Altum

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