By Judy Brizendine
Something about the idea of a new year, new beginning captures my mind and sends me down a road of reflection. What will this year bring? Where will we be this time next year? What will have changed? What would we like to change? What do we plan to change?
Last year I purchased two little white erase boards. They’re small – about 5“ x 8” – but I love making my ‘to-do’ list on these boards, crossing out what I’ve completed, and finally erasing those items and starting again. I know this sounds really silly, but I take great pleasure in using these little zebra-edged boards to plan my activities and then wiping the boards clean and starting over. The action clears my mind! That’s how I think of a new year, new beginning. A fresh, blank slate. A new opportunity.
A friend recently wrote about purchasing two day timers – one calendar book for her business and one for her family – and then creatively decorating them with colored markers, stickers, and little drawings for all of her appointments and family schedules. These seemingly unimportant details transformed a mundane and stressful activity of planning ‘how to fit everything into her schedule’ into a fun one for her. Attitude matters, regardless of the goal or activity.
Your ‘New Year’ Thinking
We’re all different, that’s for sure, and what works for me or my friend won’t necessarily work for you – but something else will! The New Year is a time for wiping the slate clean and starting fresh. Clear your mind and allow your thoughts to take off in new directions! If you’ve always been hesitant to step out and take a risk – then maybe this is the year to take some calculated risks. Not stupid ones, but thoughtful ones. Step out of your comfort zone. What’s the worst that can happen? My husband always considers the worst case scenario – because he knows if he can handle that, he can handle whatever else comes his way.
One thing that’s especially been on my mind lately is people, community, and sharing. I’ve been able to connect with some amazing folks this past year, and I feel a new sense of excitement and anticipation because I appreciate we’re all in this thing called ‘life’ together. Now that may seem like an obvious realization, but I’ve connected with people who truly want to help other people and make a personal difference in their lives and in the world. I think lots of folks feel that way.
Where are you in your life, and what’s at the top of your mind in this New Year?
Deciding To Do What’s Best, Not What’s Most Comfortable
When you’re going through a difficult period, sometimes your natural inclination is to pull back from others – yet that’s normally not the best thing for you. I’m more of an introvert than an extrovert, and I need to be alone at times, yet I’ve realized how much more invigorating life is when I ‘connect’ with other people. When I make the effort, I think differently – more imaginatively and boldly. Instead of falling into what’s comfortable at the beginning of this New Year, make a decision to do what’s best for you, even though what’s best may seem uncomfortable at first.
Our lives and circumstances are constantly changing in one way or another – and our happiness often hinges on how adaptable and resilient we are. The changes can be good, exciting ones, or they can be the result of painful events. We generally adapt to positive changes much easier than negative ones, but adjustments are necessary regardless.
Almost everything I write ties back in one way or another to grief. When you boil grief down to its very basics, it’s a process of facing pain and adapting to change. Actually, the same could be said of other difficult experiences.
A quote from one of Philip Yancey’s books, Reaching for the Invisible God, keeps coming back to me. I have it written in my Bible, so I see it frequently. It goes like this: “Life is not a problem to be solved but a work to be made, and that work may well utilize much raw material that we would prefer to do without.” I agree wholeheartedly with Yancey. No one readily embraces change that results from negative events or circumstances, yet the way we approach these changes affects our lives dramatically. Do you adapt and adjust, or do you dig in and try to hold on to the way things were, even when it’s impossible? Do you allow the difficult circumstances to grow you, to deepen you, to change you in a positive way because of all that you’ve been through?
I’m not big on making resolutions, yet I fully welcome the idea of a new year, new beginning. I do want to make changes that enhance my life and the lives of others. I think that’s part of growing older and hopefully wiser. I’m reevaluating what I’m doing, how I’m doing it, how my focus and direction can change to better help others and carry out my mission.
How about you? Where are you going? Are there things you want to change? Do new directions call you?
© 2014 Judy Brizendine
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