Why is New Years always such a let down to so many people, myself included? Maybe it’s because we couldn’t spend the day with the people we loved the most, or perhaps as we think about our hopes for the coming year we are constantly reminded of our shortcomings and missed goals from last one. While I had some big aspirations for this year (and made some serious headway achieving those things), 2019 was largely a year of building foundations and finding the groove. Already a year into touring with Hamilton, I felt that I was still very much learning how to fully function in a constantly changing environment.
When I look back on my year, there is a clear divide between the goals I concretely pursued and the ones that largely fell by the wayside—a story of a hidden force. I don’t remember much from High School Physics, but after learning about Newton’s Laws of Motion in an idealized, abstract world, you’re introduced to one of the “catch-all” forces that brings them into real life: Friction. The interesting thing about Friction is that there are two types, Static Friction and Kinetic Friction, and while both resist motion, Static Friction is always greater than Kinetic Friction. Simply, It takes more force to move a stationary object than it does to keep one moving, and this parallel is visible in everything from the process of developing good habits to the reason (I think) why big cities overflow with productive energy when compared to small towns.
In 2019, I lived in 16 different cities for mostly three week stints, played just shy of 400 shows, reconnected with many friends along the way and lost a very dear one…and I only wrote three times. Amidst the rollercoaster of emotions and myriad of experiences from this year, I found it extremely difficult to both set aside time for writing as well as collect my thoughts and channel them into something cohesive and meaningful. And it shows: while I am an introverted person, I’ve found myself dipping into becoming even more of a hermit with very little to say—and the static friction persists.
How does it manifest?
For me, it involves an endless cycle of idealizing how things should play out, putting on the persona of having everything together and contributing only when I’m 100% sure of things, finding myself frustrated and flustered when things don’t crystallize physically as they do mentally, and then going back to the drawing board to try again with the weight of past shortcomings ever present in my mind.
And how to overcome it?
Overcoming this, however, is simple in theory: I merely need to ditch the persona of having everything together—this opens the door for things to play out differently and for me to remain flexible instead of triggering my perfectionist mindset.
Why is it then so hard to do this?
Sunk Costs. After years of being raised in an environment that rewards and accredits those that have the answers and ignores those that don’t, I’ve subconsciously accepted this mindset as I’ve transitioned to the professional world—and with those years living by this philosophy comes the inevitable sunk costs of admitting it is flawed and starting over. But it is necessary—and now, six paragraphs later, I realize that change is the only way to break through the static.
So what is my New Years Resolution for 2020? Simple: to overcome Static Friction. To Reset in order to recognize the hurdles I’ve built. To Reframe the narrative in order to eliminate the force keeping me stationary. And then, to try again.
Reset. Reframe. Retry.