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Why Do We Celebrate the New Year?

I’m a big advocate on living in the present. Life is more fulfilling when you are focused on the now. Slow down and enjoy the little things that are going on around you. Like for real, stop and smell the damn roses because life is pretty great. Once you take a moment to enjoy the now, believe it or not, it’s also pretty important to reflect on the past, as well as, look forward to the future. What better time to do all of this than the coming of a New Year. Every New Year’s Eve we celebrate. We pop bottles of champagne with our friends and family, while blowing those aggravating New Year’s Eve Horns, all in anticipation of when the clock turns to midnight. But have you ever stopped and wondered what we are actually celebrating?



NYE

New Year’s Eve is a two part celebration — The past and the future. It’s a celebration of the previous year and everything the new year has in store for us. For a night, we aren’t in the present, we just simply get to celebrate what was and what is yet to come. New Year’s Eve is the one time of the year where I think it’s beneficial to not be in the present. That’s what makes it special and what makes it such a liberating holiday. Maybe you are celebrating a year of success. Maybe you got married or you had a baby. Maybe you graduated college. Maybe you bought a new car. Maybe you met new friends and are toasting them right now. For some maybe your glass of champagne is a sign of a new beginning. Maybe 2019 wasn’t your year. Maybe it was a year of disappointment. Maybe you lost your job or you lost a loved one. Maybe you felt heartbreak. Maybe you are a Dallas Cowboys fan and you just missed the playoffs. Whatever your 2019 presented you with, stop and take a moment to reflect on it. Think about the good moments and think about the hard times. Appreciate each one of those moments because they got you to where you are today. In the present. Even the hard times help us grow.


PART 1 — The Past

The first part of your celebration is appreciating your past year. I can truthfully say 2019 wasn’t my year. If you’ve had a chance to read my previous blogs, you would have gathered by now that I love structure and schedules. After my college basketball career ended, so did all of my structure. I struggled with this transition. I struggled with how our season ended, and I struggled with what I would do next. I tried to build structure by applying to a job of my dreams, only to receive my denial email months later. I experienced heartbreak in more ways than one. It was a year of challenges and a summer of discovering my interests and what my new hopes and dreams were. After realizing I still had to have a basketball in my hand, I continued to follow my dream of professional basketball. That bought all its own stresses. Would I find a team? What if I didn’t sign with a team? I’m usually pretty well prepared but I refused to have a back up plan and just proceeded forward. So I let the stress of that weigh on me as well. 


It was an emotional rollercoaster of a year (if you don’t believe, ask my poor mother that buckled up right along side me for the entire ride.. She’s a saint) I think it’s important to always look back and reflect on the previous year. We never want to dwell on the past, but if we never reflect back on it, we will never fully absorb the challenges we faced and overcome. It’s how we grow as people because once you have reflected back on the past, you can now look forward to the future. And that’s the second (more exciting) part of the New Year’s Eve Celebration.


PART 2 — The Future

The past is the past and now you get to celebrate the future. Goodbye to 2019 and bring on 2020. Welcome 2020 with open arms and all the excitement the New Year has to offer. Celebrate the opportunity of learning more about yourself and growing as a person. Maybe this year you discover your passions and your dreams, and you go out and chase them. It’s never too late. Take a leap of faith. Be excited for the future because you’re the author of what’s next. Even if New Year’s Eve is just “another” day, it’s another day that creates a mirage of a new start. If there were things in the past you didn’t like or you want to change, what better time to do that then the New Year?


Because of this, I love New Year’s Resolutions. Throughout the year, I am constantly setting goals for myself. I am so specific with these goals, leaving no room for creativity. I’m the Queen of SMART goals..

 Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Relevant. Time Bound

However, a few years ago, I decided that’s not the way I’m going to approach my New Year’s Resolutions. All too often (if we want to admit it or not) we fade away from our New Year’s Resolutions and then we are left with nothing for the remainder of the year. (The only people this benefits is the gym owners with a hefty cancelation fee) I too, lose grip on my New Year’s Resolutions, so I started making a yearly mantra. Something that I thought would lead me to a better year. Something that I could repeat to myself all year and hopefully motivate me to reach my specific goals along the way. So this year, my New Year’s Resolution is, “Live Simple, Be Happy” It’s not complex, there’s nothing to measure, and the time table is nonexistent because it’s a lifestyle. It’s something that I will carry with me throughout the entire year. Think of your own mantra that could help you in the New Year. Write it down. It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering. Make it simple, it’s just a small reminder how you want to approach everyday. It could even help you overcome challenges you face during the new year. 


MIDNIGHT — The Present

So today as we ring in the New Year; appreciate the past, love the present, and look forward to the future. Take that New Year’s Resolution and make it come to life every single day. Keep it in your mind and have it motivate you. Recognize the past and learn from it but never let it hold you back from making the future bright. This New Year, really stop and think about what it is that you are celebrating. I’m celebrating my challenges but more importantly, the amazing moments of my 2019. I got to travel to 14 different countries, I got my Masters degree, I got to hug my oldest brother after a year long deployment in Afghanistan, I signed my first professional basketball contract, my family is healthy, and I have my health. So this New Year’s Eve, I’m toasting my champagne and obnoxiously blowing my NYE horn because after I stopped and reflected on my year, it turns out the roses still smell pretty damn good.


Happy New Year :) 

-Laken 

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