“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.”
– T.S. Eliot
Happy New Year
This is the day that many of us make New Year resolutions. I prefer to look back over the past year and ask myself if I’m on track or on purpose in my life. As I look back, I congratulate myself for my accomplishments and forgive myself for my screw ups. I think about what made me happy and what didn’t. I think about the people in my life – family, friends and work colleagues and how different my life would be without them. I look back at the creative work that I’ve been doing and question – what jobs were satisfying to me and why? Were my creative efforts an expression of who I am and how I see things?
As I look back over 2010, I feel pretty good as far as feeling like I was “on purpose”. The economy was lousy, but I was able to stay afloat and fortunate to be in a position to pursue a “passion project”, that kept me alive creatively and also helped me grow as a human being. But I think the most important part this personal project played in my life was that it pushed me in every way possible and in doing so opened my eyes as to how I want to live my life – the rest of my life, however much time that may be.
None of us know how long we’ll be on this planet Earth. There may not be a next year, when you’ll get around to doing those things that you’re always telling yourself and others that you want to do. All we have is the “now”. So, as I look forward to the New Year and all the promise that it holds, I remind myself that my future is dictated by all those little choices that I make in the “now”.
It’s the little things we do along the way that control the life we live. The choices we make – the way we treat and react to people and circumstances – what we allow in our life that will ultimately determine our year ahead. So, in looking back at the old year, I’m reminded of what did and didn’t work well in my life.
In looking ahead, I won’t be making a list of resolutions, but will try to remember that there will be times, when I need to make those little choices in the “now” along the way. There will be moments when I need ask myself if I should take a job or walk away from it, or times when I need to remind myself that I can’t control how people treat me, I can only control how I react to it. I can only control what I allow in my life. Every day, I’ll be faced with hundreds of little decisions, directions in which to turn that may or may not be good for me. I will try to make the choices that will keep me on purpose.
Like Kenny Rogers sang “You’ve got to know when to hold them – and know when to fold them”. A great metaphor for how to look at life.