The Loop Newspaper - Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

By Mel White 

Starting over in the new year

On the Bright Side


January 5, 2019

Mel White

Something about new beginnings and firsts have always delighted and fascinated me. Which is one of many reasons I always look forward to the New Year, every year. Jan. 1 signals a great time to start over, if one so desires. And who doesn't? That's what resolutions are all about, aren't they?

I've personally never been very good with New Year's resolutions. Well, I was always pretty good at making them, even writing them down some years, but I was never very good about keeping them. No matter what I resolved to do (or not do) for any given year, within a few months (or sometimes weeks or days) I would forget or forgo any promise I made to myself and just fall into old habits.

I'm going to be a better person. I'm going to work harder. I'm going to lose weight and eat healthier and get in shape. I'm going to be nice to people I don't like. I'm going to wash the dishes right after each meal. Making resolutions (promises!) is easy; keeping those kinds of promises is hard!

And so the guilt would invariably build up as I realized I was failing my well-intended but perhaps too grandiose resolutions (turns out I just don't mind a few dishes in the sink and French fries are an absolute must in my diet).

I tried to adjust some years, and make promises that I was more likely to keep (I'll order the medium combo instead of the large; I'll work smarter not harder; I'm going to be as nice as I can be around rude people), but that seemed to eventually be just another exercise in futility, which sometimes caused me a certain amount of frustration and disappointment. For some years, I made a point of not making any resolutions at all, and actually, that seemed to work pretty well for me ( least I could skip the feelings of guilt or failure, if nothing else). And, heck, there's always next year!

Then one day when I was writing my annual New Year's column, I was writing about new beginnings and realizing that new beginnings – chances to start over – happen all the time. Every time the clock changes, or the calendar goes from one day to the next, we have an opportunity to do things differently, to make changes, to start over.

And of course the start of a new year – when we hang fresh new calendars on the wall and clean out last year's files and start new ones – we have the best and biggest opportunity to start over that we'll ever have.

For me the New Year has become a great reminder of all the opportunities we have to start over. These days I like to think in terms of clean slates and recurring openings to do things differently, if and when I am so inclined, with the New Year being the big starting point where I can just shrug off all the disappointments of the last year, where I can remind myself to live in the moment, to forget and forgive past mistakes, to recognize that even past success may not be the same forever, and if I ever doubt myself or something happening around me, well, I can always put it behind me and look forward.

"Don't live in the past, it's done; don't live in the future, it is uncertain; live in the now for now is a beautiful present." One of those great quotes.

Another is this (a new favorite of mine from Zig Zigler): "Start now. Start where you are. Start with fear. Start with pain. Start with doubt. Start with hands shaking. Start with voice trembling, but start. Start and don't stop. Start with where you are, with what you have. Just start."

Now that I think about it, that could be my on-going New Year's (and every day) resolution: just start. Any time I am not happy with what is going on in my life or wish I was doing or handling or thinking about things differently, I can make the sometimes scary but always positive decision to start over, whether by word or deed or thought process (or all of the above). Anytime, anywhere, any circumstance. Just start.

Happy New Year to you all and my wish for you is a great start for the New Year ... and for whenever you may need another fresh start in 2019.

© Copyright 2018 Marilda Mel White. Mel White, local writer/photographer and co-owner of the Treasure Trove, has been looking on the bright side for various publications since 1996 and has been starting over quite frequently for many years. She welcomes your comments at


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