PerspectivesNikesha Elise Williams Jacksonville Today Contributor
People stand in Times Square for the annual New Year's Eve ball drop in New York City on Dec. 31, 2021. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)

OPINION | Feel free to begin, again

Published on January 3, 2022 at 5:58 pm
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Happy New Year!

2021 marked the first time in a long time that I did not set traditional goals for the year. I don’t like resolutions because they seem fickle on their face, but every year prior I used to get absolutely giddy about setting goals, getting a new planner to chart them out, and then watching myself progress through them with great success and pride. In 2021, I had the planner but absolutely no gusto about things I wanted to accomplish for the year. Of course, there were things I knew I had to do—like have a baby—but they weren’t goals, more like obligations. 

In September, I established four goals I want to meet, but because of their loftiness I didn’t put a timetable on them. They still don’t have specific deadlines. I also don’t consider them goals for 2022. They will carry over into the future as need be or be redacted as things change. For now, they are more like markers to let me know my life is moving in the right direction and I am on the right path. And even that is unknown.

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As people, we put so much stock in the beginning of things. You don’t start a book on page 152. You start on page 1. You don’t start a diet or new exercise plan on Thursday. You start on Monday, at the beginning of the week, with a fresh start and a full seven days to succeed. But whether it’s the beginning of the week, the beginning of the month, or the beginning of a New Year, the language around beginning at the beginning is the same. It is full of energy, excitement, and verve. But what if you have to start over in the middle?  

Also by Nikesha Elise Williams: When are we going to get back to normal?

In life, we are only afforded one beginning. There is no way to begin again, or yell, “do-over!” in the middle. If we choose to start anew, we must start from wherever we are. 

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2022 — or “2020 too” as the memes go — marks the third year of pandemic living. It is living unsure, uncertain, and unstable. It is living sometimes in fear of the unknown and sometimes with the reckless abandon to laugh at death in its ugly, foreboding face. What has yet to be determined is whether this year will be one to live out loud instead of in timidity. To live free. To live unrestrained and unbound by others’ thoughts and opinions. To live in a way where we give ourselves permission to do as we please, if we please, when we please, and honor those steps as beginnings all their own, even if it is not January, or Monday, or the first of the month. 

author image Jacksonville Today Contributor

Nikesha Elise Williams is an Emmy-winning TV producer, award-winning novelist (Beyond Bourbon Street and Four Women) and the host/producer of the Black & Published podcast. Her bylines include The Washington Post, ESSENCE, and Vox. She lives in Jacksonville with her family.

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