Taking New Year advice with a pinch of salt

For me, January 1st was just an ordinary Monday.Call me cynical but I think that excitement and hope in a new year is inconsequential. The change in digit doesn’t really mean anything. If we want things to get better, we can make that happen at any given point during the year.

Nonetheless, I received a lot ofmessages from people giving me unsolicited advice on how I should live my life in 2018.

Don’t text people who don’t text you, they said.Granted, friendship is a two-way street. Butwhat happens if a friend is going through a difficult time and as a result, they are withdrawn? Do I wait for them to be done with whatever challenges they are facing so they can get in touch? If so, what is friendship?

They said to walk away from people, to have little patience for human nature. But all human beings are fallible. Your parents are going to say ruinous things at one point or another. Yourclosest friends will be a no show when you most need them because their lives don’t revolve around you. They are not always waiting to be at your service.The person you love is going to do something hurtful.

In other words, sometimes the people you love and those that love you willdisappoint you. They willbeselfish and unkind, and you have to learn forgive because they are human.

Do whatever makes you happy and ignore the naysayers, they said. But sometimes, ‘naysayers’ are the voice of reason. Or they are the people who are affected by the decisions that you make because you are not just a human being. You are someone’s child, someone’s spouse, someone’s friend, someone’s employer or employee and you have a responsibility to those people in your decision-making.

They said to accommodate only the people who accept you for who you are.But the hard truth is that sometimes, who you are is not worth of acceptance. If as a friend you are slanderous and cruel, if as a partner you are untrustworthy and selfish, if as an employee you are lazy and unwilling to learn, you need to change.

In a nutshell, themessages had two things in common; disregard for other people and the pursuit of selfish gains.In my view, this sets a dangerous precedent for humanity.

To lose the sense of community, the sense of responsibility towards the people in your life and to be withdrawn to yourself, is to take away from the foundation upon which society is built. And if we are all taking, who is going to give?

So I am taking the New Year advice with a pinch of salt. Yes, I am going to continue to love myself, I am going to pursue happiness.

But I will do that even as I continue to love people, to serve and to be a better friend, daughter, sibling and everything else that I am.