The Orthodox Church New Year is in September- tomorrow in fact. It makes waaaay more sense to me than having a somewhat arbitrarily chosen new year in January. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a January baby and love my month. But why on earth would anyone choose to have new beginnings in the most miserable, depressing, darkest part of the year? Everything feels more achievable when the air is crisp, the leaves are golden, and people around you are making fresh starts. If you have a family, then your entire year arranges itself around the school calendar.
This past January, I made goals for 2012 instead of resolutions. They were:
1. Be brave.
2. Write more.
Up to this point, I think I’ve come a long way towards both those goals. I committed to this blog. I kept a daily journal for my entire trip to China. I wrote a letter a day from June 1st through August 16th. I hope the practice is paying off.
As for being brave… I can’t begin to tell you how much things have changed since January. On New Year’s Eve, I was unemployed, in a destructive relationship, almost out of money, crying every day, struggling horribly with trichotillomania, and terribly depressed about the future. Today I have a job that seems tailor made for my skills and interests. It may not be perfect, but I found it and earned it based on my own merits and it’s mine. I have a very positive relationship with someone who makes me feel beautiful every day. He’s supportive, we share interests, and we go to church together. I have a car. How did that happen? I’m not sure. It’s a standard, and I bought it anyway. Getting in and driving took (literally) insane amounts of courage. I’ve been pull free for seven months, making this the second longest and most sustainable period since trich manifested at 10. I’ve taken a lot of risks since 1/1/12. I’ve staged a concert. I spoke in front of 4,000 people. I took seven adolescents to China and translated for them. I started dating again.
A few years ago, my wonderful book club friends and I decided that on Church New Year we would make resolutions pertaining to our spiritual lives. Mine was to read the Bible daily. It mostly stuck. It’s not perfect, of course, but with God’s help it’s become a habit.
This year my resolution is to read two more Optina Elders. It’s not especially ambitious, but it’s achievable (I hope- I’ve been working on Elder Barsanuphius since the beginning of Lent, and I still have about eighty pages to go). I would also like to discover more Orthodox writers (say… three?). I’ll need your help with that.
Wherever you are, and whatever you believe in, a very happy new year to you.