Despite my growing aversion to setting (usually futile) new year’s resolutions, I enjoy reflecting on past and current seasons of life in preparation for looking ahead. Whilst thinking specifically about this current season, I keep coming back to the notion of newness. Doesn’t that sound nice? A season of newness. It pairs nicely with the advent of the new year, but as I continue to parse this phrase, a variety of thoughts and emotions come to mind.
Newness. After double-checking on Dictionary.com that “newness” was a legitimate word, I read through its seven definitions. The first couple definitions were expected: “of recent origin, production, purchase…appearing for the first time.” However the last definition in particular, struck me, as it precisely described how I use the term here: “coming or occurring afresh; further; additional.”
2017 was not the official start of this season, it commenced at the beginning of the school year, last September. During that time, I began working my first job after college, sought out a church community, and began my life on the West Coast. There was a lot of “newness” happening in my life, in the sense of the first couple definitions of the word. However, the West Coast was not entirely new to me, so it was interesting to be back in a familiar yet fresh context. I had lived and worked on this coast for short periods of time in the past, but this time I was moving here indefinitely. Likewise, I had sought out a church community before, when I moved to New York for school and found my invaluable college ministry, so seeking out a community was nothing too unfamiliar to me either. This is where the last definition of “newness” comes into play, “occurring afresh; further; additional.”
I am not starting from scratch with zero work experience and friends; I am simply developing additional and further experiences and relationships. For instance, making friends has never been an unfamiliar or “new” process to me, however, as I jump into this next “stage of life” (for lack of better words), I can already see how deep some of these friendships have grown. I see the expanding potential for permanence.
Now it’s 1:17am in the morning, and I am not sure that anything is making complete sense, but my point is that the newness I feel right now, is simply the newness of becoming an adult. I caught glimpses and blips of it during college, but now the process has fully begun, and that is good. It’s exciting and daunting, but good.
I could write an entire post on why growing up is good, but in an eggshell, growing up means you learn more about the world around you and your place in it. You learn how to effectively face the bleakness thrown at you on a daily basis and in turn, how to love with a deeper capacity.
Instead of usual “resolutions” I have made in the past, I am following in stride of someone (namely, a blog) I admire, Cloistered Away, to hearken in the new year by answering several questions. Feel free to join me and answer these questions too.
What is one specific way you want to take care of yourself this year? Is this daily, weekly, monthly? Write it down. If possible, share it with someone you trust, someone who will help you prioritize it.
I really want to cultivate and create my own space this year. Physically-, mentally-, and spiritually-speaking, create a space by forming habits of quiet time, exercise, and general organization.
What is one specific, concrete way to connect with someone(s) outside of your home in a more meaningful way? Begin with one. Is this a daily, weekly, monthly practice? Write it on the calendar.
Simple. A coffee or tea date (aka, what I spend most of my free time doing).
What is one area of your daily routine you’d like to shift? What do you need to eliminate? Simplify? Add? Have more consistency in? Write it down.
I would like to fall asleep to a book instead of the same two episodes of The Office every night (in particular, The Deposition + Dinner Party). Less screen time equals more dream time.
What encourages you the most in your daily living? Write down one action to cultivate encouragement.
In my daily living, I am the most encouraged by the humility and vulnerability of my friends. They create the safest spaces to be honest and for me to be my ridiculous, weird self. Mar, make sure to return and acknowledge your friends’ encouragement via a text, a hug, a handwritten note, etc.
I have been going on about change and newness, but I must note one constant in my life, the one Constant throughout all my seasons: Jesus. Amidst the struggles of re-adjusting to new settings and loneliness, He has never left my side. He’s been there in the form of supportive friends, humble mentors, good coffee, articulate music, relevant Bible verses, and more than I even know. There’s not much else to say other than, thank you, Jesus, and in all seriousness…
Jesus take the wheel.
Thank you for hearing me out and reading this far. May your 2017 be filled with hope, courage, and mindfulness.
Have a productive day/night.
p.s. I have not been the best at consistently documenting 2017, but here are a couple moments from my new year thus far.
p.p.s. yes, that is a selfie of me + my first ever crunchwrap supreme (note to self: chicken chalupa is still the apple of my taco bell eye)