Saturday, December 31, 2016

Out With the Old, In With the…Old?

   As the new year approaches we traditionally think of discarding the “old” and implementing the “new.” We make resolutions (some realistic, some not) and commit ourselves to making the reflection in the mirror a better person. I can’t say what percentage of people actually follow through (I haven’t done a study and am not even motivated enough to look one up) but it occurs to me that instead of simply swapping old for new, that maybe we should examine ourselves a bit more closely and realize that maybe the old…is actually best for us.

   I won’t list what is good or bad since those terms are subjective to what you are doing and trying to achieve. I will say that we don’t always realize what works for us and tend to take that measure based on what is working for someone else. It makes no sense…but I’ve seen it happen. 

   Throwing out the baby with the bathwater leaves you with no baby…when all you really wanted was to get rid of the bathwater. Trying to fix something that isn’t broken can leave you with something that does not work. What I’m saying is sometimes when we go to make sweeping changes, we end up changing some things that we really didn’t want to. Other times we try to improve upon something that is great the way it is…and the process of trying to make the improvisation actually destroys what has already been working (and the replacement may not work as well, or even work for us at all).

   I’ve watched people buy new cars (a fresh start) without accounting for the financial impact it can have on a budget. Eventually the reality presents itself and the new car is gone…replaced by a worse car than the old car, or no car at all. The kicker was the old car was great for what it was being used for (short distance travel to and from work). This is just a simple example of the above analogies, but clearly illustrates that new for the sake of new is not always the best decision or change to make.

   Things get a little more complex when dealing with personal relationships. Sometimes we need to change the type of people we have around us…and sometimes we need to change our exposure to just one person to make all the difference. Maybe our friends are really just people we associate with (I’ve spoken about friendships before) and we simply need to change how we use the term. Self examination can be complicated, but if improvement is your goal for the new year, it’s absolutely necessary.

   Romantic relationships are even more complex than the interactions mentioned above. I’ve seen people change romantic relationships like others change clothes (I can’t make this stuff up) and I gotta wonder if they will ever realize the baby was in the bathwater. A new relationship might not be the best answer when a few changes to the old one might be better. I’ve spoken about relationships before here so won’t go into that rabbit hole, but if I had to convey one aspect we could all benefit from paying more attention to, it would be communication/consideration (see how I snuck two in there when I said it would be only one).

   Whatever it is you want the new year to bring with it, realize that some of those things might be what you have to bring with you…not the new year. So this year when you go to make your resolutions, take a moment to examine what has been working for you and commit to maintaining that occurrence. 

Happy New Year!