young woman on laptop sitting on bed

New year, new me

December 15, 2017

The fruitless and clichéd phrase, “New Year, New Me,” is prevalent at the start of a new year, especially on social media, where follow through is often absent. Despite its overuse
and tiresome connotations, there is some truth to the phrase that’s used as a declaration for change.
Throughout 2017, my life, my goals and I, as a whole, have evolved. I will retain, as I always have, the foundations that make me who I am. But 2017 was a lesson and a sometimes harsh reality check, about my priorities, my relationships, the person that I am and the person
that I want to be.
2017 was the most terrifying, eventful and defining year of my life. But it didn’t start out that way.
Before the year began, I was living in a small city in Ontario and working a comfortable but underwhelming, job. I had a reliable nine-to-five schedule, received steady paycheques, had bought my own car and had finally become self-sufficient. I thought when I graduated
from post-secondary the previous year that this was the ultimate goal. I thought that I had finally succeeded.
In reality, I was not happy. I felt trapped by my quotidian rhythm, I had outgrown the city and had an overwhelming homesickness for my family, three provinces away.
I had tried for months to brush off these feelings. I attempted to distract myself with social gatherings, tedious hobbies and tasks that provided me with a temporary sense of purpose.
By January, I knew that something had to change. You might say I experienced a quarter-life crisis. I heard myself say the dreaded words: ‘New Year, New Me.’
Usually, I am the first person to warn others against using the phrase. Don’t be fooled into
believing that time alone will improve your life. Don’t buy into the belief that the change of
a calendar will improve your life or that a hashtag will set you apart. The new year is as good a time as any to commit to improving your life but change comes from intentional actions, self-awareness and realistic goals. Change does not come from a status, no matter how many likes it receives. Simply saying or typing the words will not make them true. If you’re going to use those words, it’s expected that you follow through.
I was prepared to follow through but I knew that my beckoning for change would not be easy. However determined I was to become a “New Me,” my clichéd quest called for some serious selfreflection and tough decisions. I eventually realized that I had known all along why I was unhappy. I knew the cure for my discontent but for months I had been in denial because I was afraid of risk.
My brain urged me to remain at my comfortable job, where life was predictable and reliable but my gut was the driving force for my decision. I quit my job, I sold my car and half of my belongings; I packed the rest and I moved across the country.
What began as a half-hearted ‘New Year, New Me’, has turned my life around. This isn’t the first time I’ve started anew, but this was the first time it was truly my decision.
The phrase ‘New Year, New Me’ often implies a lack of control, as if the new year itself will change one’s life. The new year, despite its hype, is simply the change of a calendar year; that doesn’t mean your life is suddenly going to change. The new year can be the catalyst but you are responsible for the change.

– Shawna Bannerman, Assistant Editor