Why I don’t wish to be happy in 2018

In the first days of January, I have a little ritual: I take a moment and think about how I want to name the new year. This is a way for me to commit to an overall resolution, to set a direction to inspire and guide my decisions, and also to make a wish on what I hope to achieve.

Among my favourites names (and years) so far, there is “the year of change”- when I quit my job and moved to another country; “the year of friendship”- when I focus all my energies on cultivating meaningful relationships; and “the year of learning something new every day” — a very intense but exciting one. While the name changes every year, the wish is always the same: to be happy.

Or at least, it was, until now.

Last year, I wished 2017 to be “the year of living life to the fullest”. My resolution was to live more in the courage zone and less in the comfort zone. I wanted to embrace new challenges, to try new things, to keep an open mind. I wanted to dream and to dare, to explore, to make the most out of every situation. I wanted to feel alive as much as I could. And I did.

I travelled, I danced, I had incredible fun, I met amazing people, I have been proud of myself, I fulfilled my dreams, I created and did things I never imagined I would be able to do. But, to be completely honest, even if it is not easy to admit it, I also felt lost and insecure, I experienced anxiety and paralyzing fear, I felt exhausted and frustrated, I cried (a lot), I thought I couldn’t do it and that I was a failure.

When you invest all your energies and emotions into something you have no control on, you can either win or lose it all.

When you take the ladder that leads to the stars, you are one step ahead from the ones that look up to the sky from the ground, and that makes you proud, but you are also exposing yourself to the risk of falling down, and that makes you precarious. It’s exciting and terrifying at the same time. While you are climbing, it’s hard to maintain the grip and balance at all time. It’s hard to to keep going up, especially when you don’t see the end of it, or when you don’t see the ground anymore. Sometimes you might want to get down, or to simply let go, hoping for a soft cloud to catch you. Sometimes, you will actually fall, and it will hurt, badly. And you might feel discouraged or with no more energy to try again; you might feel too small for such an ambitious task.

Was 2017 the happiest year of my life? No, because I had some bad falls.

Still, it was probably one of the best.

Because from each fall, I have learnt something that helped me climbing a bit higher the following time; because each time it took less time to get up again, and I felt stronger and even more motivated to give it another try.

So for 2018, and all the other years to come, I am not going to wish to be happy.

Of course I wish to laugh and love, to have more dreams to chase and to do what I am passionate about; but I also wish to make mistakes, to face more fears; I wish to cry and to despair, I wish to feel confused and lost; I wish to feel all kind of emotions, and to feel alive, in the good and in the bad.

But most of all, I wish to be able to embrace all this, and learn from it, and keep going with new strength and wisdom.

As for the name for the new year, I think I’ll cheat a little bit this time, and borrow the words of Maya Angelou. I want 2018 to be “the year of doing the best I can do, until I know better, and, once I know better, of doing it better”.

Happy New Year x