Opinions: Rocca-ing the world: One way

Taking a new route through the year


Lauren Rocca

On the road during the New Year’s day drive

As I drove home from Kansas City on New Year’s Day, the car zoomed under a sky-high, arching bridge. The bars above me whizzed by, whish whish, until my family landed on the other side with a long journey still ahead.

I couldn’t help but think how much that bridge was like New Year’s: awe inspiring for a brief moment until reality and normalcy are reached once again with a long time stretching ahead.

There’s a lot of pressure that comes with a new year: parties, resolutions, renewal.

Resolutions like living healthier, cutting negative people out of their lives or seeking more adventure.

They are all nice thoughts, but changing anything drastically overnight is highly unlikely.

And that is okay.

I mean New Year’s is totally overrated whether we choose to accept it or not. That New Year’s kiss rarely meets my expectations. The anticipation of midnight is more exciting than the clock simply switching to 12. And the resolutions only live on as big ideas with no follow through.

Frankly, it’s crazy that we need a holiday to decide to change for the better.

Every day has a new start, a new potential, a new adventure awaiting.

Every. Single. Day.

While it’s nice to start the year over, there’s still a long, long journey ahead.

What happens throughout the 12 months during which we are lucky enough to be alive matters more than the first day of the year.

This pask New Year’s Eve, I stayed up until 4 am talking and celebrating with my cousins and then slept New Year’s Day away.

Honestly, the world is exhausted from the night before January 1, so I’m sure not much adventure or healthy living is achieved right off the bat.

But who cares? There are 364 more days (well, this leap year 365 more days) just bursting with potential for those adventures and positivity.

If it were up to me, December 31 would be the holiday celebrated instead of January 1 so we could see how far we’ve come not how far we expect ourselves to go.

What a wonderful and scary thought that we won’t be the same people months from now as we are right at this very moment. So many twists and turns are bound to come.

When fifteen-year-old little Lauren Rocca left the sheltered all-girls environment of the Hogwarts castle and grounds of Ursuline and stepped into the sea of people at EHS, she felt… overwhelmed. Out of her depth. So scared she was physically shaking.

I had no idea I had just made the best decision of my life.

The years continued on to hold some of my best moments, like going to finals at nationals with Golden Line, and making some of my best friends.

Of course, the transfer was rough at first, feeling new and out of place in the lunch room, but most worthwhile things are a struggle in the beginning.

So maybe we’ll go to a new school and make friends, or nervously try a new job, or confidently attempt a new sport.

It is better to work towards a day in celebration of improvement rather than a day of resolutions that, more often than not, fail because of the intimidation of failure.

People looked at me on New Year’s and said, “I’m going to eat healthier this year and exercise more!” Then moments later, they bursted into laughter because they didn’t believe they could do that.

But that’s crazy. Of course they could do that. By December 31, of course you can accomplish healthy living. Or positivity. Or adventure. Or all of the above.

It’s just a day-to-day process. So instead of trying to be better than the previous year, why not challenge ourselves to be better than the previous day.

Sometimes when I do something wrong or forget something like a practice outfit, I write it down and make sure to not make the same mistake the next day.

It’s a lot less overwhelming and a lot more effective to slowly but surely let go of the bad habits and latch onto the good, whether it be people or food, emotions or activity.

By December 31, I hope that no matter the destination, I can look back proud of the journey through the year behind me and not focus so much on the destination. Because by just the next day, I’ll be in a new place anyway.

Even if I do “fail” in my resolutions, that oddly and somewhat unfortunately tends to be a better teacher than success.

If I burn cookies, I’ll know to take them out of the oven sooner, just like if I fail a test, I’ll know to study harder.

Choose to use the failures as fuel for betterment instead of looking at the mistake as a dead end in the road.

And whether I fail to lose 15 pounds or become the poster board of health, I will cross the New Year’s bridge again, journeying into another year, another day and another windy road of successes and failures and wrong turns and adventure.

It will be a terrifyingly beautiful one-way road, ceasing to stop and impossible to reverse.

While it’s tempting to leave the past in the past, let’s strive to instead learn from the years and days and moments before. Let’s not forget the life we’ve worked so dang hard to get through.

And maybe, just maybe, the next time we cross over the bridge, we will be a better, steadier, driver of the life we’ve chosen to journey through.