2015 is rapidly coming to an end and almost everyone I know is making resolutions. Ashley is going to loose weight, Andrew is going to be kinder, Max is going to get a job (and keep it). It seems like everyone has taken this time to look back at their lives and had one grand realization that it’s all been a waste — that they haven’t truly been living, and the reprieve they’ve been searching for is here: the new year.
Everyone has this idea that if they’re going to make a huge change in their lives, January 1st is the ideal day to do it. But why?
In the summer of 2013, I went to Nebraska’s Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership conference (HOBY) where a man named Rob Quillen came and spoke to us. The weekend I spent at HOBY was essentially three straight days of inspirational speeches, and this was no exception. Quillen was in New York on September 11th, 2001, and knew the pilot of the plane that hit the twin towers. His speech was centered around two words: Why Wait? Life is too short to put things off, whether it be going on vacation, following your passion, or telling someone how much they mean to you.
I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately.
I love being ridiculously straightforward. I love sending reckless text messages and telling people they are absolutely phenomenal humans and I cannot believe they really exist. I love saying, “You’re a good person,” and, “I’m glad I met you,” and, “You brighten my day.” I try to live my life as straight-forward as possible.
Because I could die tomorrow.
The number one cause of death for people my age is accidents. I could be walking down the street one day, blasting One Direction or Broadway hits, jamming so hard that I don’t see it coming. I could be walking while enthralled in a book. If I’m being honest with myself, I would probably be scrolling through twitter and just not look up in time to avoid a terrible accident.
And I’d really, really rather not die with some confusing statement I said sitting in the thoughts or the memory of someone I know and care about. I don’t want people to not know what they are to me. When I die, I don’t want anyone to feel like I didn’t like them. I people to know how much they meant to me.
So when the new year rolls around, and everyone is making all these resolutions, vowing to reinvent themselves, I simply ask: Why? Why have we waited all year to change our lives? I understand that it’s a great opportunity, and the symbolism is irresistible, but I don’t think we should start looking for things to change once a year.
Change is scary, but sometimes it’s necessary. Maybe it’s time to take more than one day to make sure we’re getting the most out of our lives.