New Year's Reflections: Chasing Joy

New Year's Reflections: Chasing Joy

SACRAMENTO, CA - In all truthfulness, New Year’s turns me into a little bit of a Scrooge. Coming down off the high of my favorite holiday—Christmas—always puts me in a dour mood, and the realization that another year has come and gone doesn’t help alleviate the feeling. Not to mention the dreaded idea of New Year’s resolutions.

However, this year, I’m excited to say that I’m taking a new approach that takes away the potential for failure or disappointment, and instead opens up a world of possibilities, and I am encouraging everyone else to do the same. In lieu of setting lofty goals surrounding my fitness routine, healthy eating, or career moves, I’m endeavoring to simply pursue the things that make me happy. It’s that easy.

Striving for happiness is something that benefits not only yourself but those around you, as Jenna Plasterer shares

Raise your hand if you’ve ever set a New Year’s resolution and not met it, only to be a little disappointed in yourself. I’m right there with you, and so are 91 percent of others who set resolutions every January and don’t achieve them, according to Inc. Magazine. So, instead of putting ourselves under pressure in 2023, why don’t we make promises to ourselves to do whatever it is that brings us joy, whether big or small?

In this competitive, stressful world, it’s so easy to get caught up in what we need to do, not what we want to do. I’ve found that many of the things we feel we should be doing are just ideals society is projecting on us. In other words, we get caught living our lives for other people, and where is the happiness in that? After all, we only have a finite amount of time on this Earth; why waste it?

So, I implore all of you to join me in taking each day as it comes, pursuing what brings you joy instead of chasing temporary moments of contentment that appease societal ideals. Worry less about what other people think, and more about how you feel. I am promising myself that in 2023, I will say “yes” to more of the things I want to do and “no” to the ideas, activities, and people that don’t serve me.

Instead of talking yourself out of what brings you joy in 2023, talk yourself into it

Want to take a vacation to your bucket list destination? Take the time off! Is your favorite musical artist performing? Buy the tickets! Are those shoes calling to you? Drop the cash! Is Netflix beckoning you away from the gym? Oh well, the weights will still be there tomorrow.

In other words, we need to stop using guilt to talk ourselves out of things that make us happy, because, as I’ve learned in my albeit short life, tomorrow is not promised. And, personally, if today was my last day alive, I would rather it be rocking out to Billy Joel live in New York while wearing platform glitter boots or skiing in the Swiss alps than gasping for breath on the treadmill and eating plain chicken and rice in pursuit of the perfect “beach body.”

Now, it would not be very Jenna-like of me to end this without lyrics from one of my favorite musicians, because music is one of the things that bring me joy. So, words of wisdom from the late, great George Michael: “Be good to yourself, because nobody else has the power to make you happy.”

Happy New Year, everyone! May your smiles be so wide in 2023 that they hurt your cheeks.