If you’re like me, you groan when you see headlines like this. Such vague pronouncements suggest that just because the calendar flips to a new year something is bound to change–and for the better. But isn’t the year’s end an arbitrary change agent? Change is happening always, whether we want it to or not. As humans we like neat beginnings and neat endings, I suppose; it’s how we make sense of things, or give closure to one idea or way of being in favor of another.

I’ve long since given up on notions that the “new year” will bring a “new me.” Sure, I make goals; I reflect on the year gone by and wonder what could have happened differently. But if I get too hung up on some lofty accomplishment, I only set myself up for failure. Who needs that kind of mental baggage?

With all that has gone over the past few months–make that the past year–I, for one, am simply glad things haven’t fallen apart. I’m grateful for stasis, for the lack of too much change. I look to the year ahead, cautious about my expectations, be they positive or negative (admittedly, I’m feeling a bit of both), and instead have been focusing my attention on being open to what the universe dishes up.

If there’s one thing I can commit to, other than trying not to stress over the things I can’t control, then it is this: to continue to be aware of the cultural shifts that have been visited upon us–the negative surprise of so much divisiveness in this country that is home to me, to you, and to so many others with different points of view, religious practices and beliefs, sexual orientations, ethnicities. There is a place for each one of us, as long as we treat one another with respect. The right to be who I am without fear of reprisal is a thing I have taken for granted, but for many others that right is being challenged. Many of us have been oblivious to the fact that the rights and privileges we hold dear as Americans are not givens. They never were, but now, for many, they are severely threatened.

So my promise in the new year–my resolution–is to maintain an awareness of what is at stake, and to do my civic duty of sharing that awareness with others, and to mobilize when mobilization is required.

How about you?