New Year, new me? I think not

By Ruwan Teodros

(David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS)
(David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS)

The champagne glasses clink together (or whatever alcoholic beverage you are clinging to at 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31) and suddenly, it’s a new year. There’s a glimmer of hope in everyone’s eyes, including mine, no matter how cynical I get.

One question we never ask around this time of year, however, is why we trust our “old selves” to make these changes? “Old you,” the one who spends way too much time watching “Keeping up with the Kardashians” and looking up contouring tutorials, is not likely to snap out of it and watch intellectual documentaries instead of reality television and throw all her makeup away.

Why do we all swear to shed those pesky 10 pounds, be nicer to people and stop submitting our pieces to the newspaper so close to the deadline just because it’s a new year? Why can’t we just decide to make these improvements Aug. 1 instead?

I remember sitting at a bar in Lebanon at 11:58 p.m. and thinking that 2016 might be the year that I become a self-actualized person. One minute later and I was becoming euphoric, thinking about how my heart was going to burst at 12 a.m. and how the countdown feels like the anticipation before a test that you think you did well on gets passed back. Your heart is beating erratically, but in a good way.

I look at my friend and strike up a conversation about the boy on the table next to us who keeps making eye contact with me. Please stop, dear sir, it’s about to be a new year and I don’t leer at people anymore. New year, better relationships.

Time passes fast, as it always does. Too fast. Drinks are sloshing all over the place and the music gets louder.

Alas, 12 a.m. has passed, but I don’t know this yet. I’m not scrolling through my phone for once, deciding to be “in the moment,” therefore not paying attention to the clock strike midnight. I’m unaware that my favorite part of the night, otherwise known as “the countdown,” is over.

It’s 12:02 and it turns out the entire bar has missed the countdown and that we slid into a new year as we slip into anything: jerkily and awkwardly. Nothing had changed.

The days passed and suddenly 2016 became old news. You start getting used to writing the date with 2016 at the end of it (I said you not me. I’m still writing 2015 in February). Winter break was coming to a close and it was time to pack up all my things and return to Amherst for a chilly, miserable winter. I could hear the deadlines not yet assigned keeping me up late at night already.

I was on the plane, deep in thought, when I realized that there was no need for me, or for anyone, to be making changes around the New Year. Change is gradual, not immediate. I know that I will not be a fit and toned gym goddess with rock hard abs and cellulite free legs after one tough gym session, so why should our new year’s resolutions be any different?

Take your time. The old you will still be here when you eventually want to make those changes. For now, just get ready for another week and hope that you’ll be able to get to those big auditoriums in the Integrated Learning Center before class starts, because no one likes to creep in and crawl to their seat.

Baby steps, people, baby steps.

Ruwan Teodros is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]