When I hit Toronto soil approximately this time last year, I made a promise to myself that not only would this be the time that I succeeded, but that I would do whatever it takes to reach my goals. Much like Rocky, I would make this city my ultimate triumph. To do this, I decided that it would take a certain amount of sacrifice on my part. For the most part, Toronto isn’t a cheap city to live in. To do so would mean I’d be giving up a lot of regular pleasures I’d grown accustomed to, but it would all be worth it.
Fast forward to January 4, 2017 and as I sit here, actively and achingly thinking about the year to come – perhaps obsessing even – something needs to change. I pushed and pushed to the core of that lingering feeling in the pit of my stomach. I’d ask myself what it is in this life I lead – this incredibly privileged, fortunate life – needs to go. Then it hit me. I care too much.
I’d be willing to bet money on the fact that a lot of people are resolving to care a little less in 2017, especially given the shit we had to endure last year: Trump winning the American presidential election, more gun violence than should ever be allowed to happen, war, poverty, strife. Unfortunately, in the macro sense, there isn’t much I can do about that. If I had the decisive, unilateral power to remove a president from office with a swift signature to a piece of paper, baby, I’d be doing it right now. I’ve decided that it’s all about measuring expectations and taking them at face value. I can’t stop a fascist from taking the American presidency, I can’t stop war, and I alone can’t stop gun violence. What I can do, however, is change myself, so that when I need to stand up for something, I have the energy and the resolve to do just that.
The title of this blog post implies caring less (my “New Year’s Resolution”, if you will) and, in a roundabout way, I’m getting to my point. I promise.
See, when you move to a new city, dreams and suitcase in tow, a little part of you decides that the only way you’ll possibly succeed is if you make every single person you meet happy – it’s up to you to meet their expectations, as high as they may be, and perch yourself there, eagerly waiting for your next opportunity to show off and shine. I call bullshit. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that nothing comes from you caring too much about one thing. Focusing all of your brain power and mental stamina into a single goal is tiring and I can already feel the burn out. Too bad for me, burning out doesn’t burn calories.
I’m aware of the idea that a calendar year is a social construct and that, in the eyes of some, just because the date flips over, doesn’t mean anything has really changed. I’m going to take this as a learning opportunity – a chance to grow and evolve in the best ways possible. I’ve spent too much time caring about what others want from me, what others expect from me, and how I can’t seem to reach goals fast enough. Maybe it’s time to sit back, change my mindset, and let things fall into place – hopefully as a natural consequence of letting the cards fall where they may.