Unpacking 2018

Unpacking 2018

Written by: Charneise Alston, M.Ed

Today marks the final calendar day in the year 2018. Wow! Is it just me or did this year rapidly fly by faster than usual? Well, before we move into a new year, I would like to suggest a somewhat odd concept. Let’s unpack before the move. Huh? Yes, it sounds backwards but I think that this productive effort will help eliminate the unnecessary baggage we tend to carry into the anticipated new year.

Whenever transitioning into a new home or job, it’s common practice to haul personal belongings to make a new, empty space appear familiar. However, I beseech you all to not make 2019 recognizable. Year after year, we have become accustomed to making resolutions that greet each new year with short-lived zeal. Yet, we quickly become entangled with the same mess, habits, and vices that we subconsciously carry into new seasons of our lives. Let us now commit to end the counterproductive cycle on this last day of 2018.

First, we must take inventory of all that we have acquired over the years. In order to purge ourselves from emotional, mental, and spiritual clutter, we must assess what is actually valuable and what is worthless. Only bring what is valuable into new spaces. When you are unsure about an item, ask yourself, “Do I want to find a place for this in my new year?” If yes, keep it. If not, get rid of it. Prized possessions like your dreams, goals, love, hope, optimism, faith, patience, courage, and peace appreciate over time. Conversely, disappointment, addiction, pain, hatred, worries, unforgiveness, fear, debt, frustration, laziness, and unresolved past traumas are all toxic and do not have to poison your new year.

Let us discard the drama of 2018 by choosing to resolve matters before the year ends. Tomorrow is not promised and there is no profit in putting off what can be done today. The new year does not bring a fresh start until you choose to heal past hurts. Your healing is your responsibility. When the minute hand hits twelve and the new year is brought in at midnight, there is no magic wand that erases and heals the pain of our past. “New Year, New Me,” nope that is a lie. The same you that has been allowing the same problems to affect you is looking at you in the mirror when you wake on January first. What are you willing to do differently to bring about different results in your life?

Of course all of our issues cannot possibly be resolved in the remaining hours of today. Nevertheless, our willingness to change accompanied with corresponding action can begin the fresh start that we so desperately seek. If you have been undisciplined in your finances, create a goal, plan and budget to restore financial stability. If you constantly find yourself attracting  and dating the wrong type of person, it’s time to endeavor in the journey of self-love. Refuse to date anyone during a certain length of time while you actively discover yourself and realize your worth. If you have been working at a job that no longer serves your spirit, it is time to investigate your passions and purpose. Whatever area that needs improvement in your life, it is essential to get yourself an accountability partner. Accountability keeps you safe and on track.

For all of my Olympic award-winning grudge-holders, I would be remiss to not address the need to forgive. I believe that unforgiveness is the biggest box that we continually move into new seasons and spaces. I know that you are hurt and naturally want to protect yourself from future pain. However, as stated in my previous blog Forgiveness, forgiveness is the remedy for your own healing. It is the balm that will soothe the pain inflicted by others. Forgiveness is not merit-based, so stop deciding on who deserves to be forgiven. Forgiveness is personal and it is all about your desire to focus on the healing and not the pain. Unpack the box containing all past offenders and begin to heal your heart through forgiveness.

Unpacking can be an overwhelmingly stressful and tedious task if not done with order and intention. It is highly recommended when moving into a new home to unpack a room at a time. Since organization is vital, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Therefore, I propose that you unpack a season at a time. There are four natural seasons in a calendar year with distinctive characteristics for each season. Think about those differentiating qualities correlated to winter, spring, autumn, and summer.

What germinated in 2018? What bloomed in 2018? What flourished in 2018? What became hot in 2018? What stunted in 2018? What transformed in 2018? What became cold in 2018? What went into hibernation in 2018? What was cultivated in 2018? What withered in 2018? What died in 2018?

During this time of the year, I love to pull out my vision board, read my journal, and review my timelines on social media to remember my highlights, heartaches, struggles, victories, dreams, desires, setbacks and goals throughout the year. In order to look forward to a brighter future, you must first be vividly aware of how far you have come to appreciate your journey. As a result, I enjoy printing out pictures and placing them in decorative photo albums. The salutary act of sliding a photograph in the plastic pocket of an album book will never become obsolete in my home. It is wise to chronicle your own story to persevere your legacy. As we prepare ourselves to enter into a new year, let us unpack, heal, and appreciate 2018. As always, the new year brings the unknown, bearing both surprises and expectations. It is beautifully produced in the midst of hope and faith. Let us not fear newness but rather embrace a new perspective, commit to operating on a new level, and be willing to only bring what is valuable and healthy into the new year.

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.”

~T.S. Eliot~

4 thoughts on “Unpacking 2018

  1. I am absolutely speechless! This blog hits home on so many levels. I guess it is time for me to start unpacking for my new journey and my new space. I can’t tell you how your words of affirmation and encouragement has lifted a past burden in my life. I am now on the journey of recovering from the hurts and disappointments of others. 2018 has definitely been the year to redefine my purpose and to appreciate all that God has blessed me with. I am leaping into 2019 with the assurance of gratitude.


  2. Excellent encouragement, my goal is to not bring anything not Praise Worthy, positive or product into 2019. Including people, a blessing to have someone else totally agree! Good Bly & Happy New year


    1. Yes! Mel, you have the ability to set the tone for your new year by being intentional and responsible with your time, energy, heart, and finances. You are absolutely on the right track.


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