Thursday, January 3, 2013
It’s nothing new. Everyone does it, takes stock as we approach the New Year on how this particular year has stacked up against the previous ones. We all say thanks for the blessings we’ve received and goodbye to the loved ones we’ve lost. We assess our life goals, health goals, career goals and often coming short of our unrealistic expectations for what was possible in one cycle of the sun, we vow to do better in the coming year.
For the last four December 31sts I have rung in the New Year with hope for the future and a less than fond, “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out” to the cr*p storm that comprised the previous 12 months. The problem with this yearly ritual is that our judgment of our goals, accomplishments, joys and hardships is often clouded by the events of the last couple months leading up to the event. You might completely brush aside the amazing promotion you got in January because the bloom is off the rose a bit with the reality of the day to day responsibilities or the longer commute. That tan from the week in Maui last February has long since faded. And of course, the end of the year, the beginning of the next often serves as a painful marker for the loss of a loved one, knowing you are leaving his or her last year with you and entering the first without him or her.
But that being said, I would like to propose a new ritual, much like an advent calendar, a month long review of the year’s accomplishments, successes and joys. Thirty one days of pure, unadulterated self-praise. Because if you consider that you have only had 365 (or 366 if it’s a leap year) days to accomplish all this, you will realize that you had or more importantly made something good happen at least 10% of your year. And I’m not talking about one of those daily affirmation, “I am grateful for” things, though those also serve a noble purpose. I’m talking about some full on indulgent self trumpeting. Because my guess is, once you start stacking up all that you have done or seen or enjoyed, once you become aware of the big as well as the little successes and joys in your life, you will enter the new year not with a sense of foreboding but with a sense of wonder and excitement at toppling the previous year’s tally. And isn’t that really what the new year is about? It’s not about relief for what has past. It is about excitement for what is to come.