Greetings one and all…
I am writing this reflection on New Year’s Eve—always an interesting time of the year. A moment for reflecting on the year past and for contemplating the year to come. I always feel as if I am crossing a threshold on New Year’s Eve—one foot out the door as I move into the coming year. But not yet totally invested in the new adventure.
Fascinating or Frightening?
New beginnings generate a myriad of emotions and responses—excitement, anxiety, hope, fear, anticipation, trepidation, fascination, uncertainty, caution, and curiosity (to name a few). Some emotions and responses are more beneficial than others at the beginning of the New Year. By “beneficial” I mean attitudes, approaches, and behaviors that enable us to embrace the coming year with the entirety of our being. Ways in which we can confront the inevitable challenges, seize life-giving opportunities, and savor the essence of Life! Fascinated instead of frightened.
Every person will approach the New Year uniquely based upon the specifics of their circumstances and their lived experience thus far. Our past informs our expectations of the future. However, it’s important to realize that the past does not dictate our future. Furthermore, our expectations of the future often become self-fulfilling prophecies. We engage life and react to life in ways that validate our expectations. So a word to the wise—expect good things! Set lofty goals! Who knows—Life just might live UP to your expectations.
Ways to Experience a Fascinating New Year
- Be Realistically Optimistic—Growing up, I witnessed two very different world views. My mom was the half-full kind of gal whereas my dad was the half-empty kind of guy. My mom could be over-the-top optimistic. In contrast, my dad always planned for the worst and hoped for the best. Consequently, my parents offered each other the needed balance for a realistic perspective of life. Together, they were realistically optimistic. They courageously confronted the daunting challenges of Life armed with the knowledge to make informed decisions. Recognizing the available resources and identifying the various options, they developed a plan and moved forward one step at a time. When times got tough, they were able to see hope on the horizon—the bit of hope needed to persevere and to persist. Being realistically optimistic enabled my parents to endure the bad times and to embrace the good times.
- Be Purpose-FULL—In the past year, I read numerous studies that highlighted an essential ingredient to age well – Meaning. Having a sense of meaning and purpose launches us out of bed every day. Puts a bounce in our step. And ultimately provides a reason to BE! Identifying the “why” of Life motivates us to move through the times of trial in search of the afterglow of adversity. Believing there is an ultimate “why” drives us to be curious and fascinated by Life as we seek to discover the meaning of Life.
- Be Intentional—A few days ago, I witnessed a scene that simultaneously broke my heart and reinforced my commitment to live intentionally. After my workout at the neighborhood rec center, I went into the locker room to get my bag. Upon entering, I saw a staff member assisting another patron. In a few seconds, I recognized the woman had some form of dementia. She couldn’t remember where she had left her clothes after changing for a swimming class. Wrapped in a towel, she ran from locker to locker in search of something that looked familiar. With compassionate and gentle guidance, the search ended successfully. As I walked out of the locker room with the staff member, she turned to me and said, “Don’t take a single moment of this Life for granted. Savor every day.” I do and I will.
The bottomline is this. We can’t control what will happen in 2019. But we always have the freedom to choose a response to Life—a response that serves to shape our lived experience from that point forward. In 2019, may we all choose to be fascinated by LIFE and thereby live intentionally meaning-FULL lives. Happy New Year to you and yours. Enjoy every moment…jane
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