Shawn Fredericks | Staff Writer

Hello, happy new year and congratulations. You made it to, hopefully, a wonderful year filled with bountiful growth. If you are in that New Year, New You vibe, I have a reality check for you: there is no new you, you’re the same person from last year balling on the same budget. No shame, just facts.

Now I know, dear reader, you have probably seen this phrase repeatedly on your timeline, most likely from some struggling IG models, and of course, the fake deep people.

People who want to inspire this change in their life start with the hashtag of #newyearnewme on a social media post – nothing wrong with that besides how wrong the phrase is. There is no new you coming into the year because true growth comes with substantial time; it takes more than a year.

What makes “you” you at this moment is a summation of all the events of your life that have brought you to this moment. Life’s a journey experienced by one person, not several different “you’s” over the years or whenever you feel like.

Life takes the form of several stages from young to old, freshmen to senior, graduate to professional, professional to master. Real growth comes from building on a foundation. It is like writing a story. New chapters have new beginnings, but it’s still the same book.

I understand trying to bring new positive energy into the new year, but bringing positive energy is all about putting in that uplifting energy and watching it come back. You get what you give. If last year wasn’t as positive as you would have liked, then I encourage you to ask yourself some very simple questions: What was my role in those negative experiences? What could I have done differently? And what exactly made me feel negative about that situation?

Meditate on these questions and when you find the answers, a great weight shall be lifted from your spirit.

The opposite is also true; you put bad energy out there, watch it come back to you tenfold (#Goddon’tlikepettyandevilness).  Meaning if you are trying to escape negative energy coming back to you, I have one thing to say and I am going to remix a famous phrase from THE Rick Ross (ROZAY!). God forgives, but the world doesn’t. Take this new year not as a reset, but the start of a new chapter of the same story you have been in. Yes there are new possibilities, but the previous cannon still applies to your life.

The person you are right now is a special person with gifts and experiences that are tailored to you.

What is for you is for you and there is nothing that can change that, so do not shortchange yourself or your blessings because others made you feel like you had to be a whole other person to be successful or blessed whatever your beliefs. Know that you only hurt yourself in trying to capitulate to other people’s vision or opinion of your life, live for yourself and do right by others.

I want to tell you reader that I love you. I may not know everyone who reads this newspaper, but I want to let you know I love the person you are right now. You should want to change, but that does not mean you have change who you are.       So go out there, explore your possibilities and yes, change. But grow.