As someone who likes to over-process, over-analyze, and over-reflect on life’s major and minor transitions, New Year’s is my kind of holiday. This annual celebrating of the end of one year and the start of another brings with it the inevitable assessing of the past and planning for the future. A whole period in the calendar set aside for reflection- could there be anything better? Not for this girl!
And don’t get me started on the anthem that is synonymous with New Year’s- Auld Lang Syne. It could be 90 degrees with 90 percent humidity in the middle of July and those opening strains can still bring tears to my eyes. I don’t know all the words and (confession) I have to Google what the words actually mean each year (the song is about friendship and the passing of time, by the way), but Auld Lang Syne, does it to me every time!
So with New Year’s, we have a holiday based around the idea of marking time and it has a theme song that makes me cry- well, I’d say that is just about perfection in my book!
I recognize, however, not everyone relishes this final holiday of the year. The pressure to have a memorable rockin’ New Year’s Eve saps most people’s enjoyment of the holiday, and not everyone jumps at the opportunity for life reflection and pondering. Some years, we are so thankful to see the year finally pass that reflecting is the last thing on our minds. We are just holding our breath until 12:01 AM January 1st when we can officially exhale and turn our backs on the year that we thought just might be our undoing.
It is in that exhale that lies the other reason I love New Year’s. It is an opportunity for second chances. You get another January 1st. You get another chance to face your fears and defeat your insecurities. You get another try at being the person you would like to be. At 11:59 PM, December 31st there is all the hope and anticipation of a better year, a fresh start, a do over. I’m a sucker for a good comeback.
But before we start planning the next year, we do benefit from stopping and looking back on the previous year. Even if this was an extraordinarily tough year for you, just take a few moments and reflect. After all, it is hard to know where we want to go if we are not clear on where we have been. Here are some questions to get those reflective juices flowing.
What are you the most proud of from this past year?
What was your greatest challenge this year?
What was the most fun or exciting or memorable thing you did?
What were some of your happiest moments?
What do you regret or wish you had done differently?
What relationships were life giving, reciprocal, and encouraging?
With whom do you wish you had spent more time?
What relationships caused you hurt or disappointment or were in some way unfulfilling?
What are you grateful for from this past year?
What was something your learned that was interesting or helpful?
In reviewing the past 12 months, what would you say was the theme of your 2013?
Whether your year was terrific or one of your most challenging, I hope you will give yourself a moment to pause and reflect on where you’ve been and what you’ve done. We will plan and set goals and make resolutions in the days to come. But for now, let’s look back. Let’s unpack the suitcase so we know what to leave behind and what to bring with us.
Happy New Year, friends! May the experiences and lessons of this past year turn to the blessings of of your new year.
P.S. If you want a little tear jerking music to go along with your reflecting…