I’m sitting at the airport, in transit, and thinking back to exactly a year ago. It occurs to me that I made this same trip at exactly this same time last year, but for a different reason. I marvel at the fact that a year has passed. Already. And this one is about to end. It’s the middle of December. It’s the time of year when I start to look back and take stock; when I ask myself “how did I do this year?”
When I think of it, it’s kind of like the pre-work before the New Year, before that point at the beginning of January when, after having scored the year that’s just gone by, you now make the resolutions for the year to come. Sometimes, you’re pleased at the progress you’ve made – the weight you lost, the business you finally started, the promotion you got at work. Other times, not so much – you didn’t quite get over that really bad relationship, couldn’t save money as you planned, didn’t register for that course you had resolved to take on.
Sometimes, you’re amazed at how much has happened or changed over the past year – maybe you got married, or had a baby or moved into your own house. Maybe you lost your job, or lost someone dear to you or you got a divorce. Or maybe you had an affair, a whirlwind romance that changed the way you look at life. Whatever happened, it certainly was different from the previous year and it can’t have been perfect. There must have been some rough patches, moments where you almost threw in the towel, where your spirits were really low and you just couldn’t be asked. There would have been times when you wondered if any of it was worth the trouble or if it would even give you the end that you had hoped for, worked for.
But what is life without the ups and downs really? How do you learn or grow or get better without the tough times? If all you ever did was celebrate success, you’d get bored; really bored. If you always got everything you wanted in life in the exact way that you wanted it, you wouldn’t be able to truly appreciate anything. And so, it is with this set of lenses that I ask you to look back on the year just gone. Look at the good; smile and give yourself a well-deserved pat on the shoulder. You did those things, with the grace of God and the abilities that He gave you. You survived the year, in spite of whatever trials you went through and you came out on the other side, ready to take on the next one head on. Well done!
Then look at the bad, not with the aim of berating yourself for failing – you’re human – but to learn from your mistakes. What can you do better next year? Or maybe the question is what WILL you do better next year? Procrastinate a little less? Form the habit of planning ahead? Maybe you’ll do something as simple as finding the good in every situation, or you’ll learn to laugh at yourself? What if you decide to do more good, like notice the people around you who need help and lend a hand? Or you take a bold step towards your future and invest in your first piece of property?
We all make resolutions. At different times of the year but most notably at the start of a new one. For me, next year is not going to be any different. I already have a long list, which I intend to whittle down because the truth is you’re more likely to succeed at keeping your resolutions when they’re realistic and are a manageable number. Stick to what’s really important to you. Don’t make a resolution that is just a wish. Give it life. Spell out what you will do to help you make good on your promises to yourself. Don’t be afraid to make resolutions that help you explore your passions, your inner child, your creativity. No one said resolutions always have to be real serious stuff. In the end, the point is to feel good about yourself, to look back and conclude that it was a year well spent.
However, if the serious stuff is all that you want to resolve to do, then attack it with all the passion you can muster, with all the purpose in your bones. No half measures. Just be ready to push through the difficult times. You know what they say – no pain, no gain. So whatever you do, don’t give up at the slightest sign of trouble. You’ll only regret it later…
Back to this year that’s about to end. At this point where you are now, this very moment, is where you should be. Don’t beat yourself up for the choices you made this year. Everything that has happened in your life up until now, that has happened in this year and the previous ones, is leading to where you are supposed to be. You see, we are all on a path, one that we do not know for certain because we are not God. But the right thing to do, indeed the respectful thing to do is to make the most of where you find yourself and be grateful. You may not understand why you have to go through the things you do, or why the things that you ask for do not come as quickly as you want them. But trust, that there’s a higher purpose. Believe, that it will all work together for good. And know, that there’s always a lesson to be learned.
So, go ahead and make your resolutions. It doesn’t matter if they’re the same ones you made this year. Next year will be different because you have resolved to do things differently. And don’t forget to have fun!
It’s going to be a good year…