My Wish for 2020

New Year’s is not a reset button, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be hopeful.

“I have a Halloween resolution,” I announced, standing in front of my friend’s desk in our office.

Always willing to humor me, she asked with a smile, “What’s that?”

My response to her then is what I’ll say now: I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions. I had come to the realization that I was a gossip, not exactly an endearing quality, so I decided to change it. It just so happened to be Halloween.

Two months later, just as it happens every December, the internet was flooded with a tidal wave of

“This will be my year!”

or, “Look out 20-whatever.”

To be frank, it’s self-indulgent bullshit. We’re not Cinderella, the stroke of midnight on January 1st is not a magical event. We’re still pumpkins.

I realize that I sound cynical, but hear me out, I’m getting to an optimistic point.

There is always a buzz in the air on New Year’s Eve, and that buzz can feel more like a sense of doom. Another year gone, time moving too quickly, pressure to be better. Pressure, pressure, pressure.

“This will be my year to lose weight!”

“Look out 20–whatever, I’m going to get rich!”

From January 1st to maybe, what, the 15th, everyone is full of and eating right and the gym is packed. Until life gets in the way and we fall off the wagon and struggle to get back on. Oh well, try again next year.

Why do we put this pressure to perform on ourselves? Why do we wait until a New Year to suddenly become the people we feel that we’re meant to be? Why start in January instead of April, or August, or in my case, October?

I’m not saying not to set resolutions or goals for yourself. I’m simply suggesting that you don’t need a New Year to become a happier, healthier version of yourself. The stress of January 1st leads to self-sabotage, fueled by an ambush of advertisements for weight loss programs and beauty regimens. We fall right back into the cycle of trying, slipping, and giving up.

In the past few months, I decided that it was time to make some changes in myself. I can’t tell you what inspired this hope or when it was sparked, because it was constant. I wanted to have more date nights with my boyfriend. To be more eco-friendly. To love myself and the people around me more openly and freely.

A brand New Year feels like another chance to go after what you’ve always wanted, and despite my distaste for resolutions, I hope to carry these goals with me into 2020. I hope that you too are able to set goals for yourself, try something new, go after whatever is you’ve wanted.

2020 may not be a fresh start, but it is an opportunity.

Happy New Year.

curly hair with a womanist flare