' Goodbye and Welcome

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Goodbye and Welcome
By Bharathi Shevgoor
Prof Bharathi Shevgoor is an HR Developer and Professor of English Language and Literature who is presently Copy Editor at Magnum Intergrafiks Pvt Ltd, an advertising agency in Mangalore.

December 30, 2012

Itís the end of December already! Oh my God, another year has come to an end? I donít believe this. The year is about to be over...done...finished...gone. How do you say goodbye to 2012? How do you prepare for 2013?

Mad frenzy, isnít it? Actually, come to think of it, is it really meaningful to think in this manner? After all, time measured in terms of weeks, months and years is only a man-made concept. 2013 does not barge in with blaring horns, clashing cymbals and a burst of firecrackers. Night and day will melt into nothingness in the same way. The sun, moon and stars will continue to do what they always did. But we humans, in our pompous self-righteousness have cut up time into units for our own benefit and take ourselves so seriously that itís laughable. Ah, the absurdity of the human mind!

WellÖhaving said all that I go back to my original line of thinking. After all, a little quiet reflection may not be out of place, really.

The days are long. The years are short.

I canít quite remember where I read that, but itís oh-so-true. Getting through the day seems tough, at times. And yet before we know it weíre a year, ten years, twenty years older. Where did the blessed day go?

Ever heard the saying, ďInside every old person is a young person saying, ĎWhat the hell just happened?Ē I donít know if Iím that young person or the old one. A bit of  both, I suppose. The older you get, the faster the years seem to fly by. I remember reading a quote by Lily Tomlin, ďFor fast-acting relief try slowing down.Ē I wish I had said that. How come some people are so smart?
Actually, itís nice to have an organized approach to understand the meaning of the year gone by. Itís like spring cleaning that prepares us for the New Year, for another year of evolving. It creates a sweet emptiness, sort of a breathing space for the spirit.
You may well ask, ďCímon, is this self-analysis worth this much of your precious time? Will you be happier? More peaceful? More grounded? More alive? More aware of your self? More productive? WellÖ.my answer to all those questions would be Yes, yes, yes! Will you find more true freedom to be yourself? Yes, Oh yes. Will you find more goodness? For yourself? For others? For the world? For the moment? for the future? Yes to that too. Very emphatically.

So letís begin.

When we look back on the year gone by we see various people, events and places flashing before our mindís eye. Each of these entities comes with its own baggage, the baggage of feelings. So what are the things we really need to consider?

Letís see.

There are things we have done as a matter of routineĖ  weíve shown up at our work places- offices, banks, colleges. Weíve looked after the kids, tended to the garden, fed the dog and done a million other such mundane, humdrum tasks that kept the home fires burning. Did not do too badly, either.

Well, aside from this are there some things we have done that were different from the ordinary? I mean, have we supported someone achieve her or his dreams? Have we held anotherís hand and helped that person cross a hurdle? I think itís important to recall these events, however insignificant they may seem in hindsight. You see, they show us a side of ourselves that reassures us that weíre alright; we have it in us to bring a smile to anotherís face. Our presence does make a difference, a difference to our homes, families, neighborhoods, workplaces and social spaces too. As a teacher, have I gone out of the way to motivate a student? As a colleague have I lent support to a teammate in a sticky situation? As a mother have I added value to my childís life in any way? So many things to ponder over! Yet, it is precisely memories of these things that keep us going. They validate our belief in ourselves.

Moving aheadÖ.youíd have noticed that reminiscing about the year gone by brings up the universal truth that life is unpredictable. The past year surely did have incidents that were saddening, demotivating, hurtful or downright depressing. It may include something as intensely heartbreaking as a bereavement in the family, as hurtful as a broken relationship, as distressful as deterioration in health or as disappointing as inability to fulfill a cherished goal. When we recall these incidents or events thereís one thing that strikes us. It is that weíre still alright. The old engine may be spluttering a bit, but is still carrying on. Despite the setbacks and the crippling hopelessness that engulfed us in those moments, weíre alive and well. We were able to survive the troughs of life, come out in one piece and soldier on dauntlessly. Thatís not bad at all. In fact, thatís one more reason to feel good about ourselves. After all, if we donít pat our own backs, who will?

Which brings me to another aspect, in fact, a significant aspect of self-appraisal , which is that looking back brings us the realization that weíre blessed  with a lot of goodness for which we have to be grateful. Gratitude does imbue our perspective of life with a benign graciousness and humility that affect the view, let me say.

It is also possible that at this time of the year, you just might be in the ďAfter all, what new can happen in 2013? ″ mode. Nothing special has appeared on the horizon as of now. Ho-hum! Youíre also likely to say- letís not get into the ĎYou have to reinvent yourselfí style of self-help talk. Letís face it; I cannot metamorphose into an angel overnight, or in the next couple of months or ever, if it comes to that.

Agreed. Yet, just for a lark letís ask ourselves, If there was one significant thing I would want to do in 2013, what would it be? And what would it mean to fully commit to it? What will be different in how I invest in looking after myself - more  exercise? more reading? more me time?Ē

In addition, and more importantly, what will I say No to? Whatís the thing Iím presently doing out of sheer habit, senseless rote, unthinking custom? With whom do I need to have that tough conversation? What are the demons that I need to confront? What will I reluctantly hand over to someone else to do?

So many questions! Of course, we need not have all the answers ready; should not, actually. Just let the questions sink in. A few answers may just pop up on the way. Some others will fall by the wayside, to be tucked into a corner of the mind only to pop up some other day in the distant future.

So the clock of 2012 is ticking its way out, the faithful diary is almost on its last legs, the new calendar awaits its turn to go up on the wall or wherever it is such things are put up Ė and in another day or so itíll be 2013. Hurrah to that!

Actually, reminiscing and bidding adieu to the previous year is a quirky combination of a send off party and a welcome-aboard party. Just as you say goodbye to one, the other is standing in the doorway ready to be ushered in. Hard to believe you went through the whole goodbye-hello thing just 365 days ago.

The year may be new, but Iím still that same doughty lady, always game for an adventure, except that Iíve clocked in another yearís worth of experience that canít help but affect me in ways both subtle and profound. Iím up for the challenges that this New Year may throw up. Iím ready, Iím curious, but mostly Iím filled with hope and gratitude. The best thing the New Year has going for it is that it is new. Untrodden, unspoilt, undisturbed, untouched. A clean slate. A blank canvas. Endless colours to fill in. Isn't that an incredible thing to have?

Happy New Year friends! Hereís wishing you a fun-filled, meaningful and productive 2013.


Comments on this article
Adeesh A, BangaloreMonday, January 07, 2013
I relished this. From the essential nihilism in the beginning to the drizzle of hope in the end.

More, please.
A very happy new year to you, too.
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anita britto, Mangalore/AucklandMonday, January 07, 2013
Thought-provoking article which i have saved to read every time i need a reminder on staying focused on more important things in Life. Am sure every reader must have identified with a lot of the sentiments expressed though at times we don't necessarily analyze our feelings.

Makes you realize how looking back helps you get a perspective on the future.Apart from the emphasis on gratitude, graciousness and humility - qualities we have seen in abundance in our elders and teachers , I particularly liked the last lines as well " A clean slate. A blank canvas. Endless colours to fill in. Isn't that an incredible thing to have? ".

Made me realize that what goes on that slate depends entirely on me - the choice is mine - made me do a lot of soul searching. Thanks , Prof Bharathi - enjoyed reading your article
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Anderson Fernandes, Mang/Goa/PuneSaturday, January 05, 2013
very nice article mam:-) its always a pleasure2 read ur writings:-) well written piece and happy new yr2 u
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Prashanth, Manipal - BahrainMonday, December 31, 2012
Well written Ms. Bharathi. In a world which is characterized by sybolism, cliche and materialism, you have put in perspective, what a new year means. Remember, the concept of time is a creation by us, and so is a minute, hour, day, month, year!!! Imagine a timeless space, and you would realize, how small and trivial we are in comparison to the universe!!
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HEMALATHA H ALVA, Alape, MangaloreMonday, December 31, 2012
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Padmanabha B. , Sahyadri College of Engineering and Management, Mangalore Monday, December 31, 2012
Very nice article. We hope good changes and development in 2013. I wish a prosperous New year to you madam
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Thasneem, MangaloreMonday, December 31, 2012
Very nice article mam:)
I wish u a happy new year
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Chitrakumar, MangaloreMonday, December 31, 2012
Dear Madam,

Nice article. Nice title. 2012 ended with lots of ups and downs in socially, politically, economically, expecting a positive development in 2013.

thank you mam and wishing you and your family a happy and bright prosperous new year
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Sheela Rodrigues, MangaloreMonday, December 31, 2012
Nice article....
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Suresh Nayak, MangaloreSunday, December 30, 2012
2013 is going to be a good happy year, full of cheer, positive developments and plenty for all of us,putting to rest the inauspicious tag attached to the number 13.
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OSWALD VAZ, THOTTAM/BAHRAINSunday, December 30, 2012
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OSWALD VAZ, THOTTAM/BAHRAINSunday, December 30, 2012
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Raviraj , UdupiSunday, December 30, 2012
Very interesting article .Good job dear madam . But I'm worried of our young generation , most of them think that end of year means party time and consume alcohol and go for a drive ..
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