Happy Lunar New Year! I heard a fellow New Yorker once say this interesting observation, “New York City celebrates three New Years: Gregorian, Jewish, and Chinese.” By the way, Koreans and Vietnamese also celebrate this Lunar New Year.
While New Yorkers from other cultures–Tibetans, Bolivians and Peruvians of Incan descent, for example–celebrate their respective new years too, the most prominent ones are these three. As if to confirm this observation, the Empire State Building was lit red and yellow on Jan 23 to commemorate the arrival of the Year of the Dragon.
Chinese astrology assigns a different animal to each year for 12 years and after the twelfth year, the cycle repeats again. Similar to the Western zodiac signs, personality traits are attributed to each animal and it is believed that individuals born under each sign exhibit such traits.
I was born in the Year of the Dragon and an Aries. These two signs are often said to be the cultural parallel of the other since they supposedly share similar traits. Dragons and Aries are often described as leaders, risk takers, and adventurous while also being assertive, judgmental, and quick tempered. I was never one to believe in astrologers nor have I ever had my palm or tarot cards read. Yet somehow, I am strongly drawn to my astrological signs for their seemingly accurate descriptions of my personality. I like to think that being both signs makes me doubly potent! I swell with pride at all of my supposed positive traits and feel encouraged to act in these ways in times of uncertainty. The negative traits serve as excuses to support my bad habits such as my proclivity to start many projects without finishing one.
A new year means a clean slate full of endless possibilities. When I was a child, I always loved the start of the school year in September: the smell of fresh crayons in the box, newly sharpened pencils all the same height, and unwritten composition notebooks waiting to be filled. But by October, I would be bored of them because the luster was gone. As an adult, I still act that way today in many aspects of my life.
Months ago as a bikram yoga teacher trainee, we were required to memorize a dialogue—a script if you will—for each of the 26 postures that we teach in class. A large part of training was spent in posture clinic, where each trainee recites one posture as three fellow trainees demonstrate. This recitation was done in front of 40 fellow trainees and [at least] two teachers who provided feedback at the end of each recited posture. Posture clinic lasted for 6 weeks and it was the part of teacher training I dreaded the most. Every time I went up, my goal was to deliver verbatim dialogue. I needed to be flawless. I needed to be perfect. Yet just like everything in life, I never finished reciting the end of each posture: either I blanked out or never bothered to learn those last few lines. Teachers often gave me the same feedback: finish what you started.
I blamed it on my Dragon-Aries personality. Was it a lack of focus, a lack of desire? Later, a teacher back home suggested that I choose not to finish things because I don’t want my end-product to be judged for fear of not attaining perfection. It was a breakthrough moment for me. This thought never occurred to me but it makes a lot of sense.
Dragon years are considered to be very lucky and are a great time to take huge risks or undergo incredible change. For people born dragons, 2012 is full of promise and highly fortuitous. Big changes are coming to ActionJoJo this year that include: a website overhaul; greater and more consistent print and video content creation; and more engagement with both my local and online communities. Heck, world domination is another goal! There, I said it.
I left an office job to create a life of freedom and flexibility to do what I love. However, I need to earn a livelihood to make this new life a sustainable reality. In order for me to achieve these goals, I have to remember to strive for action and not perfection. Heck, my online name should serve as a daily reminder. It will be hard work to overcome my bad habits but I will use my positive Dragon-Aries traits to attempt to trump them.
Welcome, Year of the Dragon! I’ve been waiting for you.