New Year’s Eve is two weeks away. 2018 will be put to bed with the same fanfare that I used to put my children to bed. Celebrations and negotiations! Remember those days? The navigations in getting them in the bathroom washed and PJ’ed. The negotiations over what book, whose choice, whose bed, how long will you read? In my house, there was a moment when my kids finally stilled before they fell off to sleep. As I would cuddle with them each separately, we’d share a quiet rehashing of their day. Remembering little secrets, they forget to share during the ride home from school, or confessions and musings about the world around them. It was a precious time.
It’s a good lesson for welcoming in the new year.
I so look forward to the beginning of a new year. I feel the tingling of a new year and its possibilities just as Thanksgiving approaches! It’s like a no-brainer new beginning, even though it’s not really. I mean what has changed from December 31 to January 1? Yet we feel as if we are being granted a fresh start! We put a lot of time and energy into making resolutions and setting goals for the next year.
We navigate ourselves to this point in December, doing the best we can to stay holiday ready with good cheer and hope for the new year. We negotiate with ourselves over the tasks that still need to be accomplished and those that we simply can’t finish. Before we know it, we wake on January 1 with our lists of resolutions and intentions for the new year, but I wonder if we also find ourselves a little nostalgic for the year just past. Perhaps what we are missing is a quiet rehashing of the last year. A moment to show gratitude for all we have done, the road we have traveled. Asking ourselves how did we get here? Remembering to celebrate the fact that we did!
I try to begin each year with some alone time to write in my journal. Sometimes I write to evaluate the last twelve months as good or bad. Some years I am focused on what I want, hope, and intend for the next twelve coming. I realize I don’t take enough time to just honor the days past.
I like to say about being over fifty that we have been some places, we have done some things. I think the same can be said for each year we celebrate on New Year’s Eve. We’ve done some things, we have been some places. It doesn’t matter if the balance of the year was good or bad. As we welcome the new year, perhaps we need to also celebrate the one just past. We can honor the year as something accomplished, completed, conquered.
I am a writer. Journaling comes easily to me. It is the perfect place to begin this new practice of honoring each day of the last year. But it certainly doesn’t have to be done with pen and paper. As best as I can tell it requires three things:
This isn’t a replacement for setting resolutions and goals for the new year. But it is a slightly different approach. Don’t throw away the last year. Engulf it with celebration so that you recognize its passing as a solid foundation for whatever the new year might bring.
I hope you try this, even if you only get through half the year. This is about looking forward, thinking about the new year as a reward for the one just past. Like the lyrics we sing on New Years, And we’ll take a cup of kindness yet, For long, long ago. Be kind to yourself so that you can welcome fresh the new year.
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year – may you set a course for your intentions in the next year and discover something you never thought you’d find along the way!