One Step Back, Two Steps Forward

2016 wasn’t the best year for me.

It may  have been for a select few who were blessed enough with sunshine while the rest of the country (and the world) got drenched in metaphorical thunderstorms, but I don’t think it would be wrong to claim how much of a weight it has been – for me and the collective majority.

Of course, this is not to say that nothing good happened this year. To say so would be unfair, especially given all the milestones that have been achieved in different fields. For some, it could have been a promotion. Or a new child. Or winning the grand prize in their Christmas party at work. It could be getting an A from a particularly difficult class, or even just passing the semester in general. It could also come in the form of a loved one returning home after working in a different country, or even just as simple as a recent album release.

But it has also notably been a year (to mention a few) of political unease (not just in the Philippines but also in other parts of the world), economic breakdowns, the grave business that is war (particularly in the Middle East, but also locally in the south of the country) .

That’s not to mention the individual misfortunes that fell upon each of us this year. Personally, it’s been a year of a morally unrewarding job, a tough relationship that ended in a breakup, and having to move out and find a new place – not just once, but twice within four months. And while I am certain that these may not be as terrible as what others might be going through, they are not to be discounted as nothing either. And the year isn’t even over yet.

While it is true that there have been several causes for celebration within the year, the bad just seems to eclipse everything that has happened, making the occasional good seem like a brief reprieve.

So while I haven’t always been one to subscribe to the idea of the changing of a single digit as a concrete marker for one of the many cycles of life, there is just something hopeful now about the idea of closing the doors to what has been an incredibly eventful year and stepping into the world of a new one.

2016 hasn’t been the best, which then only makes it a great jumping point for a fresh start.

But while it feels very tempting to just shove every related memory inside a chest that would be left to gather dust and never be opened again, moving forward can only be healthy after having faced everything that has happened ­­– no matter how good or bad – and settling any withstanding debts.

I like to think of it as taking a step back before moving two steps forward. Sure, just taking a step forward can lead you to where you are headed, but without taking one step back and the subsequent step forward to balance it out, it would just be like going on a trip with an extra baggage of unsorted laundry – which, first of all, would not make any sense, and second, would only be cause for unnecessary difficulty in the long run.

Because you would have to deal with that. Eventually. Maybe in the following year, maybe in the following month, maybe even as soon as the following week. And by then, it would only have gotten dirtier – so before heading out for a new beginning, wouldn’t it be wise to clear out the skeletons in your closet first?

Find a way to pay the people you owe, or at least make a clear plan on how you can get back to them. Say sorry for what needs apologizing, and in the process learn how to forgive yourself as well – but be open to the possibility that not all that you have wronged may offer you the same consideration. Take a step back and see where the year went right and wrong. Know that the bad will continue to happen, but it will always be up to you to make sure it doesn’t drown out the good.

And then, with a sound mind and a clear conscience, take that sprightly step forward and welcome the coming of the new year.

About the Contributor

Mons Sta Cruz reads, swims, bikes, drinks, answers crossword puzzles, watches films, goes to live gigs, jumps off cliffs, and very occasionally writes.

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