Samantha Jones

Sam's Notebook

Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com.



Friday, January 3, 2020

While catching up with a friend on Saturday, the topic turned to our families. I asked how her parents have been doing and she laughed a little.

ďTheyíre doing good. Of course theyíre going to get back on their diet at the beginning of the year,Ē my friend said wryly.

That comment struck me, because it perfectly describes how many of us perceive the new year. Weíve all been guilty of it at some point. New Yearís Eve comes around and so do the resolutions. Weíll go to the gym more, start watching what we eat and definitely not abandon those goals after Jan. 31. No, this time we are serious about change. Isnít that the whole point of a new year?

Over the years, I have had more new yearís resolutions than I can count. I have resolved to exercise more, to write daily, to call my nana every week ĖĖ the resolutions have covered all kinds of self-improvement. Predictably, few of these have stood the test of time. Iím a creature of habit, like most everyone else. The allure of a new year can convince us things will change ĖĖ that we will make that change happen ĖĖ but time is the true tell.

This year, Iím seeing things from a new perspective. Reflecting over 2019 proves that change doesnít happen because itís a certain time of the year. In 2019, I let go of a toxic friendship and supported my husband as he began his first full-time teaching job. We worked as a team to navigate a bunch of other changes throughout the year, both happy and sad. Today, on our third wedding anniversary, I am proud to say our relationship is stronger than ever.

They say the first year of marriage is the hardest. Would you believe it if I told you our relationship only got better with the marriage certificate? When we were dating, Gideon and I accepted a lot of toxic behavior from those close to us. We thought we had to. We thought thatís what love was.

Then we married and started having trouble with some of our extended family. They didnít accept us as a couple ĖĖ†they wanted the dynamic to stay the way it was before our wedding, but that was impossible. Gideon and I are a team. We are the family we chose, and we realized way too late that itís up to our extended family to accept that. We canít make them do anything they donít want to do, and why would we? Forced love isnít love at all.

Furthermore, itís up to us to decide the kind of love we accept. Thatís the part I wish we had discovered a lot sooner. We would have been stronger for it then, but Iím not complaining because we are strong now and thatís the only thing that really matters. Maybe we had to go through all that miscommunication to understand each other better. If so, I am grateful for the hard times. Learning our way through those moments brought us where we are today. It had to happen that way, even thought it wasnít always pleasant.

What does this have to do with new yearís resolutions? If you ask me, the answer is everything. We can plan to make a change on a certain date, but true change happens when we least expect it ĖĖ often when we rail against it, hoping against hope to retain a semblance of the status quo. Real change doesnít smack us across the face like the beginning of a new year. Itís not tangible for a long time, but do you know what happens when it is?

You feel proud, happy and complete. Thatís how Iím feeling going into 2020 and I hope thatís how you are feeling, too. So whatís my new yearís resolution?

Itís simple. I want to be open to change, good and bad. I want to be open to the world, to friends new and old. To everyone who has been part of my journey over the years, thank you. Youíre a big reason why life feels so complete today.

As 2019 turns to 2020, I am wishing you all a wonderful new year full of love and the exact kind of change you need to grow. Letís keep growing together ĖĖ thatís a resolution!