I LOVE December 31st…not because of the celebrations, nor the firecrackers (although I love to hear & smell the smoke they leave behind), not because of the good food galore, certainly not because of the New Year´s resolution list I never write. It´s because I honor my favorite ritual of the whole year….I get to schedule a date with myself!!!! I´ve been doing this since 1999 bar none. It´s my special alone time, normally at 12 midnight, to ponder, meditate & write in a condensed manner everything I’ve learned from the current year, everything I did right, everything I´m thankful for, everything I need to get better at, etc.
I take time to thank God for everything that happened during the year, whether right or difficult (there is no such thing as wrong, because if there was, what would be the purpose?) I ask Him to give me a better understanding of what was the year´s purpose in my life. I even give a name to each year depending on how I view the year, according to what has happened. I still have no idea how I´m going to name this year, but surely a name will come to mind. I normally take up to 30 min. to write this on my little journal, taking it to wherever it is I get to celebrate New Year´s eve. I get out of the crowd with nobody noticing & look for a place where there is silence (although it´s hard because of the music & chatter) & start putting my neurons to good use. I´ve done it abroad, in restrooms, beneath stairs, on backyards, etc.
I love my little “old year” ritual, it gives me a sense of peace in a chaotic world, it gives me a reason to escape the crowd to think & be with myself during the year´s passing. I sometimes like to read my journal to find a common thread, through the passing years, to better understand what my life has become. Many people look forward to a new year for a start on new habits, but what really ends up happening (most of the time) is a new start on old habits. We often think of January 1st as the day changes need to be made. Certainly changes will be made in our lives only when we are ready to make them…not a day less, not a day more…Not that making a new year´s resolution list isn´t helpful, the problem is that it´s often useless.
“Another fresh year is here… Another year to live! To banish worry, doubt & fear To love, laugh & give!
This bright new year is given to me To live each day with zest . . .
To daily grow and try to be
My highest & my best! I have the opportunity
Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs!”
– William Arthur Ward
What will I eventually do with my little annual journal, you may ask? I´ll probably make it into a book of memoirs for my children. Hopefully.
What are your annual rituals? What do you repeat each year that helps you become a better person? That brings you newfound joy? That teaches you more about yourself?