I woke up the other day thinking about how fast 2023 went by and how it’s end signaled one less year left on my time here.
While this is certainly true for us all, as you get older the reality of it comes into greater focus. I didn’t feel sad or sullen about it, just momentarily more acutely aware of how time is marching on.
It’s funny how things that used to be so important are of no consequence now. I’ve had a high paying job, a fancy house and the car to go along with both. I’ve worried about what people think and gone along to get along. I’ve said yes so many times when I wanted to say no. Yet none of this matters – or applies – anymore.
Like many other people, I used to start off each new year with the obligatory list of long-neglected, self-improvement goals or projects that almost always by February had faded from mind. I always felt I had to work harder, be smarter and act better.
Now I find I like being me. I’m comfortable in my own skin. Material things don’t impress me much, and I find great joy in simplicity.
These days, I want to cherish each moment and focus my attention on the things I most treasure: my spouse, my dog, my family, my friends; being more kind and loving to myself and others; having gratitude for the natural world and the gifts God gave me; choosing self-love over self-judgement; and above all, accepting what is and detaching from outcomes.
My sister-in-law, Janet, recently sent me something written by poet/author Donna Ashworth. I found her thoughts fitting as we move into the new year.
“Why do we start a new year, with promises to improve?
Who began this tradition of never-ending pressure?
I say the end of the year should be filled with congratulations for all we’ve survived. And I say a new year should start with promises to be kinder to ourselves, to understand better just how much we bear as humans on this exhausting treadmill of life.
And if we are to promise more, let’s pledge to rest, before our bodies force us. Let’s pledge to stop, and drink in life as it happens. Let’s pledge to strip away a layer of perfection to reveal the flawed and wondrous humanity we really are inside.
Why start another year, gifted to us on this earth, with demands on our already strained humanity, when we could be learning to accept that we were always supposed to be imperfect.
And that is where the beauty lives, actually. And if we could only find that beauty, we would also find peace.
I wish you peace in 2024. Everything else is just a part of it. Let it be so.”
I join Ashworth in saying happy new year, everyone. May we all be blessed with good health and happiness as we forge ahead into another year of this journey we call life.
Lois Kindle is a freelance writer and columnist for The Observer News. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.