Photography : Portraiture
New Year, Same You
Alvina & Alicia Portraits by Herna
Jan 2019

Nothing beats the excitement of the early days of the year, the days before the numbers on the calendar transform into double-digits. Many spend their days mapping out their year ahead: establishing goals, desires, hopes, and dreams for themselves or their work. Many have also grown tired of all the “New Year, New Me” hype. Their reason for this is that they have—at some point of their lives—awaken to the reality that resolutions are unnecessary. Some people know themselves too well, they know that they wouldn’t be able to fulfill whatever it is that they try to achieve, and that it is better to set their goals along the way instead of setting many at the beginning of the year, only to beat themselves up halfway through because of their guilt and inability to fulfill any of those resolutions.


But, what if there’s this ONE journey that we can all embark on this year, regardless of what our attitudes are about resolutions? A journey you can start now and label it as a “resolution”, or one that you can keep coming back to any time throughout the year?


We’re talking about the journey to the center of YOU.


The majority of us feel like 2018 flew by a little too fast. We’ve actually felt that for the previous years, too, haven’t we? There is so much difference between living and existing, and rarely do we see people aiming for just the latter. We want to make an impact in the world, leave behind our footprints to help others. We want to achieve something and make others proud. And how exactly have we been doing that? Most of us by jumping on every good opportunity that comes our way. These opportunities are like “planes” passing by in the sky, and we’ve constantly been jumping from one plane to the next, because we know that those planes are heading towards and will surely take us to our desired destination.


But what does this make of ourselves? Just “jumpers”? Do we find ourselves being like chameleons, constantly adjusting ourselves to the plane that we’re on? Adjusting ourselves to the opportunities we take?


Whereas, in truth, deep down inside all of us is a unique blueprint waiting to be found. We weren’t designed to be chameleons. This is why deep inside our core, we struggle with identity and belonging. This is also why we can get too caught up in our individuality. There’s an intricate need in us to feel accepted, to not fall short of our own standards, to not be looked down upon by others.


There’s a better way to live, and it all starts with you.


It’s not about “fixing yourself”, unlike the typical resolutions we see and hear everywhere else. Resolutions like “exercise more”, “wake up earlier”, and “drink more water” can sometimes turn cruel and whisper this in your ears instead: that you haven’t been doing good enough last year, so you better make up for it this time around.


It’s about getting to know yourself as you are, all your strengths and weaknesses, all your mistakes and accomplishments, how you naturally respond to different types of people, what you value most, even to the little details, like the depths of your dimples when you smile or the way your eyes soften as you watch your loved one doing something they love. Because what makes us all unique and different is not how we present ourselves in public or what others’ perceptions are about us, but the little things and details already imprinted in us, just like our fingerprints. Because “fixing ourselves” won’t work, unless we fix ourselves out of the place of acceptance of who we already are.


In 2019, take the time and go on the journey of getting to know yourself, forgiving yourself, and accepting yourself.


Writers like to focus on little details. They magnify certain experiences to help readers imagine the world they’re reading about. For example, a writer would exaggerate random things about a sunflower to make the readers feel like they’re seeing a real sunflower. It’s almost like taking a picture of something in portrait mode on your smartphone’s camera. The Victorian novelist, Virginia Woolf, named this experience “Moments of Being”. It is when a certain experience dawns on you, when the mundane things that you go through every day suddenly becomes a big deal as you pay really close and careful attention to them. A “Moment of Being” can be when you suddenly see the sunflower just as it really is, the way its colors glow as the sunlight hits its beautiful petals. When you suddenly realise the unique shape of the sunflower, all its curves and all its straight lines. Woolf’s concept of “Moments of Being” tells us this: to be mindful of and grateful for what we have right now that is in front of and all around us.


Perhaps, this is the year when we decide to take some time to be mindful of ourselves. To look straight into the person we see in the mirror, search deep into the soul, and be mindful of those which are surrounding us, all just as they are. As painful as it can be, as uncomfortable as it can be, and as frightening as it actually is, there is no better time than now for us to take care of ourselves and make sure that we are healthy inside before we go about our lives and try to fix everything else.


We’ve gone through the past few years at a certain speed, thinking that if we aren’t fast enough, we would miss the opportunities or “planes” and fall, crashing to the ground. It takes a whole lot of willpower to come to the realization that taking care of yourself is much more worth it than trying to catch the next plane heading towards your desired destination. It would be sad if we strived to get to our destination only to lose our souls in the process, and never having discovered our blueprints in the first place.


So, this year, take the time to explore, and make peace with your own heart, mind, spirit, and soul.


Who knows, you might be surprised at what you’ll find in there.


Cheers to a new year, and a more authentic YOU.









more from
Push the Limit

“Making up rhymes, making fun of each others, and laughing loud with drinks in our hands.”