In their first week back at school after the Christmas holiday, students at Loreto had the delight of listening to me rant about why I can’t stand New Year.
It’s not so much a new year itself that I don’t like (although when you have 45 minutes spare, I’ll happily elaborate on everything that’s wrong with the omnishambles that is New Year’s Eve). My biggest problem is with the phrase “New year, new me.”
I’m all for making positive, realistic, healthy changes. Of course we all have room to do better, whether that’s in the love we show to others or in the care we take for ourselves. We don’t need a new year to start a good habit, but it can be a useful prompt to reflect and begin afresh.
What isn’t good is when we set unrealistic or unhealthy goals in an effort to transform ourselves, because we think that we are inadequate and need to become something different. That’s why the phrase “New year, new me” drives me mad.
In their assemblies this week, each year group at Loreto were reminded that they are fearfully and wonderfully made. The Bible doesn’t say that you’ll be a fearfully and wonderfully made creation just as long as you can remain a sugar-and-carb-free, thrice-weekly gym attendee. It says that you have been a fearfully and wonderfully made creation since you were first knitted together, before you were even born and long before January 2019.
Maybe this year will bring you some exciting changes and personal growth. But let’s not start 2019 by thinking we need to be something we’re not. Let’s do away with this ‘new year, new me’ nonsense and join with the Loreto students in saying, “New year, same fabulous me, maybe doing things differently.”