Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year, New Slate

Happy New Year... if you're happy about it or not! After all, the year has changed - you might as well enjoy it. January gets its' name from the goddess, Janus. She had two faces, so could look forward and backwards at the same time. What an appropriate skill for this time of reflection, as we remember the past and consider the future.  Keep the good parts in your memories and drop the bad.

Good or bad, 2012 is over. Chances are it had both good and bad moments, hopefully more good than bad, but some years are better than others for us as individuals. Even the years that had absolutely horrible things occur, had good times as well.  2013 will be the same, with a mixture - and at times, there won't be a thing we can do to change things, but other times will be up to us.

Many will make resolutions to mark the new beginning. Personally, I don't think this has to be set by the calendar at all. Once you decide to make a change, then DO it!  I've set goals at all times of the year - maybe one just needs to be open to the possibility when it is presented and you feel the strongest about it.

As the year ended, I read about some interesting rituals some friends did. One involved writing down the bad habits they wanted to break, and others listed moments they didn't like. Then they might rip them up into shreds, throwing them into the air like confetti.  Others buried them or burned them in their firepit or fireplace. In other words, they symbolically got rid of the bad things of the past. You could do the same thing by writing it down on paper and wadding it up. If it inspires you or helps you move on, what could it hurt?

There are also some interesting thoughts about goals for the new year. One suggestion is to keep a jar or box and write down good things and blessings. Others suggested keeping a notebook. The idea is to open the container or book and read your positive thoughts next year on New Year's Eve. It seems to me that it'd be even more helpful to read these on days when you're feeling glum!  When I was a teacher, I got notes from students. Sometimes, it'd be a quick note, or just a smiley face. Occasionally, it'd be a heartfelt letter or an apology for misbehavior. I kept them all in a drawer in my desk. When I had days that I felt overwhelmed and under-appreciated, I'd look at the notes. At the end of the year, when I cleared out my desk, it reminded me of the many positive moments.

As a writer, I related to the many posters that said something like, "This year is a book with 365 pages and it's up to you what you write on them." We can't control what happens, but we can often control how we respond to things - and that might make all the difference in what happens next!  I learned long ago that having a positive outlook makes for a happier life. Don't forget to talk to God about your day, the good and the bad.

Who knows what 2013 has in store? I've learned that sometimes what we know will happen, just won't. "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)  There are always surprises - guess we will just have to live it before we'll know! Happy New Year!

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