By Freya Barker
It’s funny –
We don’t see ourselves grow.
The mirror tells no change
In the cursory glances of the everyday.
But relatives not seen for a year observe:
“Look how much taller you are!”
Really? I hadn’t noticed.
We don’t see the earth grow either.
Only when the grass needs cutting
In the summer,
Or the daffodils poke their yellow heads through the dirt
Blankets of fresh white snow line the skinny branches
Of winter trees,
Stripped bare of their golden coats when
The autumn leaves
Float to the ground.
A never-ending cycle,
Without a break in the loop.
Time is not linear,
Round and round and round,
Pushed onwards by the flip of a calendar page
Every four weeks.
We’re a little bit older,
A little bit wearier.
It’s harder to get out of bed in the mornings,
And every day, the eye circles seem to darken.
Another year, another number.
“This’ll be my year.”
Is what we said last time.
Trends and diets and social media crazes,
Encouraged and eager to complete
For a few weeks.
But then the dampness of January settles in,
And the resolutions are forgotten,
Shut in a drawer, waiting to be
Dusted off for next year.
One thing never changes though.
Through tectonic shifts, natural disasters,
Corrupt political decisions,
The subtle shedding of the seasons,
Marked by a gentle June breeze,
Or the footprints of a red-breasted robin –
We never give up our search for purpose.
Our present days are filled with events
Designed to shape our future.
Studying for a degree,
Graduating for a job,
Saving for a house.
Have we become so focused on
We’re forgetting the moments that we looked forward to
In the past?
We search for a way through the woods,
But all we need to see
Is our next step.
Regeneration spurs us on,
Propels us to the end of the year,
But what comes after?
The same stories and affirmations
We tell ourselves.
This year, I’ll be focusing on me.
Health, happiness, and love.
Late-night chats with best friends,
Bottling bubbly laughter, the kind that makes you drunk.
Wintry walks swaddled in a cashmere scarf,
Days in the sun, strawberries and pink fizz.
Caramel lattes, cartwheels on the grass,
The smell of cinnamon and cranberries,
Deep breaths and smiles,
Warm afternoon sun through the blinds.
The right now.
In 2022, I am reborn.
I have shed the worries and troubles
Of the year before.
Bid farewell to the darkness
That clung to me like a shadow.
Everything is new and fresh,
And it’s happening
Illustration by Victoria Cheng