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?
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.