“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us”- Hal Borland.
It is that time of the year again: the dropping temperature, Christmas celebrations all around and almost the end of another chapter of our lives. December has always been my favorite month (I wish it was also my birthday month). You get into the festive spirit and wish to kick start a new year with fresh dreams, aspirations, and brand new energy. Time for new resolutions again! I like wrapping up things of the past, hoping to never repeat my mistakes again and always expecting that the coming year would be THE ONE for me! (Don’t we all hope so!)
A brief rundown of the past year always leaves me with a feeling of being ‘almost there, but not there’. No matter how hard we imagine a better ending in our minds, something always falls apart in reality. This year, instead of ruminating over the past, I have decided to embrace 2016 with all it’s good and bad to construct a more deserving year ahead. Here is my list of definite takeaways from the past year:
- Find your peace.
It is a mad, mad world out there, so be sure to find your peace (if you haven’t, already) and do something every once in awhile that you love and which lights up your face with an impish glee. Take that guitar lessons if you find music has been your solace or get that scuba diving license if you have always found inner peace in depths of the ocean. Do not give up on your new found happiness like you gave up on your childhood hobbies (recall that collection of stamps lost somewhere in your attic?). You have to make ends meet but prioritize your happiness this year. One of my happiest memories from last year was when I was watching the beautiful sunset from the white sands in Andaman, mesmerized by the sheer vision that lies in the simplest of things; and the other time when I was thinking about nothing, at the height of some 18,000 feet, lost somewhere in wilderness of pristine beauty of Leh. I have found my peace in traveling and writing. I am not the unrealistic ones who would preach quitting your job to explore the world or harness your hidden talents, but I will definitely steal myself away and travel to some secluded corner of the world or some noisy city that has been in my checklist for long.
- Be emotionally present
There are a few people who make your survival colorful, your pillars of strength in every predicament and who you would swear by to rescue you from any peril. Keep them close, make them your priority, and miss no chance to show your gratitude and love for them; for life will not be the same without them. Be there for them, not just via social media likes, shares, and posts; but emotionally. Every feeling of solitary and emptiness can always be comforted by the warmth of your friends’ or parents’ presence. We get so engrossed in muddling through the chaos of our everyday life that we take our relationships for granted. Nothing comes easy and as much as it might hurt when you realize that your best friend has a new best friend or the love of your life has a new love of their life; concede that you never made investments for those relationships to bloom. In the past year, I have seen how people change, I have come to know how volatile relationships are, how forever can last only so long and how temporary but precious every moment is. This new year, I am definitely going to increase the number of calls to my parents, make every moment with them count and be a better friend, mentor, sister, and daughter.
3.Do not forget but do not dwell in the past.
“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it”, said George Santayana. I would have had my own personal island if I had a penny every single time I repeated my mistakes. It is easier said than done, but it would make us so much better as an individual: professionally, personally and morally (financially also, in my case). Take a quick flashback of how you had messed up things at work and missed your promotion or suffered loss in your business, of that one time when you should have walked out of that toxic relationship sooner and saved your time and boosted your self esteem and how you should not have indulged in something just out of peer pressure. The brighter side is that your errors of judgment, failures, and challenges shape you and make you who you are today. “You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space” – Johnny Cash. I can not find any better food for thought to commence the new year with. It is very easy to keep brooding in the past thinking how differently things would have turned out to be, had you made that one right decision at that right time. The good news is, we always have a second chance. I, for one, am going to stay away from toxic people, negative vibes and stop procrastinating once and for all.
4. Stay fit.
The internet is swarming with articles on fitness and yet we do not seem to take our health seriously. Fitness always takes a back seat when we sit to prioritize the various chores in our busy schedule. For a change, let this new year mark the beginning of that ‘tomorrow’ when you finally hit the gym, or take that yoga class that you have been delaying, or finally lose that extra beer belly or start a healthy diet. Staying healthy is always a win-win situation, nothing negative ever comes out of taking care of your diet and body. A small amount of endurance and endeavor and you will end up with that body you had always wanted. I remember my days from last year when hitting the gym on a regular basis used to be pretty much the only positive episode and highlight of my day. It might sound bizarre, but the feeling of accomplishing one tiny goal amidst several disappointments of a day is immensely satisfying. I used to wake up the next day in high spirits and filled with a sense of youthful exuberance. Let’s also acknowledge the extra calories burned everyday and how fit and healthy you feel inside out. This is one positive start from the last year that I am definitely taking forward in the year ahead.
I can never emphasize enough on the importance of making the most of this life that you have. “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years” – Abraham Lincoln. We all have numbered days, just enough to make for an exhilarating, adventurous story of our lives. Do not just exist, live! Ask that person out, whom you have been ardently admiring for quite some time; buy tickets for your favorite band; gift your parents that car you were thinking of; plan that road trip without getting it canceled this time; the world is your oyster! Live, love and laugh. We all have our ups and downs and own battles to fight but I have learned never to give up hope and have faith. “The darkest hour of the night comes just before the dawn”. I know that life is certainly not a fairy-tale; but hey, who is stopping us from making one. I have learned enough to know that we do not end up with anything but memories of the time that flies by us and I have promised to make vibrant and marvelous deposits in my memoirs bank every year.
The onset of something new is always accompanied with a plethora of various emotions; nostalgia from the year gone by, apprehensions of what is in store ahead for us and the dawn of the moment of truth: that the year ahead of us is certainly not going to be picture perfect. But life, in the end, will be shaped by all these years as we make it, let’s make each a worthy one.