New year new you?
On social media sites, there were memes and hashtags all over the place, as if techy new-ageists vomitted all over Facebook to mark the start of 2016: New year; new you. These were usually accompanied by said techy new-ageist taking a selfie with a smoothie in her other hand.
It got me thinking, was the old you really so terrible? And if you thought she was, did you honestly have to wait for the new year to rectify the situation? And do you think you will achieve it by drinking a smoothie that looks like a kermit the frog purée? These people obviously think that by becoming healthier and perhaps losing weight, all the hurt and emptiness will go away. What those selfies really should depict is a session with a counsellor to try and address the reason why one was sabotaging their body in the first place.
I guess my point is, can there really be a ‘new you’? A rebirth, so to speak, a renaissance. Can it actually happen? Can a person honestly make a conscious effort to change so much that they metamorphose into a new version of themselves? Physically yes. But mentally, at one’s very core- I have my doubts. 
Because new does not necessarily mean different. I have a colleague who has a drawer full of brand new Nokia 3310s. She knows they will soon be obsolete, but she loves them and finds them user friendly, so the moment her mobile phone shows signs of failure, she has a new one all ready to take its place. New, but not different. On the other hand, I am in love with all things Apple. I have an iPhone 5c. I would love an iPhone 6. It is essentially the same but faster, bigger screen, lighter…better. I think when we say ‘new year, new you’ we all think that through sheer determination and hard work and a lot of smoothies, we will become an iPhone 6. But really and truly, we are Nokia 3310s and no matter how much we try to rejuvenate, in our core we will always be exactly who we are meant to be. I am not saying one can not better oneself- not at all. Just be the best damn Nokia 3310 you can be, because if you aspire to be an iPhone 6, you will be sorely disappointed. It is just too different.
For me, 2010 onwards signifies the age of bigger and better. Always wanting the next big thing, whether we afford it or not. This incessant rat race of richer, thinner, smarter, better, newer. How can anyone keep up? Sometimes things just need to settle and run their natural course. They need time to become something and it will never happen if we are constantly clicking refresh. 
This obsession with the concept of ‘starting over’ is a delusion. Of erasing the past. That can’t happen. You can ignore it, but that will not make it really go away. And the past is important. It shows you where you have come from, it shows how far you have travelled. If one is constantly trying to re-invent oneself, where is the value of all that he’s been through? 
So instead of being reborn, how about growing up and developing? How about really examining one’s life rather than just scrapping one’s past behaviours as a write-off and starting afresh? Probably because it’s a lot harder than posting a selfie and drinking a smoothie. It’s not about how you start, but how you finish. And it’s hard to concentrate on that over the whirring of the blender.

This piece was written for Salon held at the Carmelite Priory in Mdina on 30/1/2016, the theme being ‘Rebirth’.

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