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A simple truth is that we cannot limit our goals to a particular timeframe. How can we when it is neither you nor I that controls the hands of time, when we adhere to it and not it to us? How can we say by when we should achieve what as though time obeyed our command, as though we could dictate to it, have it write down what we please? How can we say by when we should do what when there’s so many things we cannot control, things beyond us? Is there really any shame in not getting it done by whenever YOU thought you should have? Is it really a failure if time does to you what it does to all of us: it’s own thing? If not today, why not tomorrow? If not this year, why can’t it be the next? Have we not seen over and over that we have more time than we realize, that everything pans out in due course? Why then must be so hard on ourselves when we did not get it done this 365?

December is the tail end of the year, but it is by no means the back end of your life or time. At no point does a clock pause on your life at the end of the year. You live through every second. You are still here. Thus, you are allowed to keep going. You are allowed to keep trying. You must. In fact, the very essence of another year is to do so. Whatever you did not get done this year, you can go for the next… and the next… and the one after that. Beyond the change of date, the turn of the year has nothing to do with your “running late”. You are right on time. You are on time. You can still do it.

And so if it is only one thing you ticked off that list you had made at the beginning of the year, that’s completely fine. You take it and celebrate it, for it is a win nonetheless. And you keep plugging away towards the rest. Besides, the year and life itself is too complex to be appraised by whether or not we hit a few specific targets, by whether or not we have crossed things off of tiny lists. We live through more than just the events pertaining to the goals we set, no? Must we not then gauge our lives by how we navigate and handle all of it as opposed to just a selected few things?

Remember all the battles you fought through? 365 days. 365 battles. On some days you won. And perhaps on others, life beat you to a pulp. But you are still here. You survived. That alone is merit for praise. That alone is enough. Remember those days you did not feel like it but you got up and did it anyway, those days it got so hard, days when you were uncertain what to do yet you still showed up? Remember when the pain was so vivid, so palpable that it was all you could feel, that everything seemed secondary to it, but you found it in you to push through somehow? Remember when you were lost and confused, when you did not know whether or not you were heading the right way, but you kept going either way? Remember when you thought it would never end, when the darkness seemed to linger longer than it should have, when every turn was a dead end but kept plugging away and here you are now? Are these not victories enough? Are they not worth celebrating? Are these not wins? Are they any less meaningful if they are not crossable off a list you made at the beginning of the year?

My point is that while the goals that you set for yourself matter, there’s much more life lived outside of that. And so before you deem your year or your life a failure, before you say it was a horrible year, before you weight it on a list of only a couple of things, perhaps you should consider everything you lived through, everything you have faced and overcome, every tiny battle you won.

My point is that the year is done, but you aren’t, nor is God done with you. He has you here still, thus, you have time, have purpose. Whatever you did not get done this time around, whatever you did not get right, you can go for again next year.

My point is while I am certain there were many horrid moments, there were also times your lips parted into a bright smile, moments in which your heart brimmed, moments in which you gasped for air off of laughter, moments in which you felt the air fill your lungs and knew you were alive, moments in which life was beautiful. Those matter too. Whatever scale you measure your year by, those should matter too.

My point is you get to determine by what criteria your year is said to be a success or a failure, an amazing or horrible one. You get to define that. So please use the right criteria. Please use criteria specific to everything you have lived through, to what it has been and not what you think it should have been, not compared to other people’s.

My point is you are here now, today, and that alone is an achievement now.

So when you sit down to ponder what this year has been for you, may you use a scale that weighs it whole, not one that factors in only a portion of it. May you be honest with yourself, revealing to yourself the hard truths. And if there be areas that demand your reprimanding yourself, may it be with kindness, with gentleness and grace, for you are but one of you- you are priceless and delicate and must be treated as such. May you give yourself credit in all the areas that it is due. May you remind yourself that there is yet another year, that you have time. And most importantly, may you remember that you have always been, you are now and always will be the most important person in the room. You did great. You are doing great, champ.

-a friend.

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