I can’t say that I’m sorry to see the ass end of 2006: it has been a turbulent and often brutal year for me. Those of us in countries that celebrate the turning of the new year at the end of December often attach great significance to the change. Countless resolutions of varying grades of achievablility will be made today and many of those same resolutions will be broken before the month of January turns.
Despite the significance we attach to the turning of the new year under the Gregorian calendar, January 1st is no better or worse a day to turn a new leaf or to make changes in your life than the fifth of March or the thirteenth of September. Akin to the idea that when the student is ready the teacher will appear is the idea that when you are ready to make change – in your environment, in your way of being or thinking, in your job – is the time to make that change regardless of when we are situated in the year.
All of that said, yes, I have made resolutions, ones which are based on all the lessons I have learned in the past 15 or so months and ones which I hope are achievable and realistic:
Identify and articulate what I want.
If I don’t know what I want I can’t say what I want and if I never say what I want I can never get what I want even if it is only me on whom I am relying to fulfill my wants.
Invest only in the outcomes which truly matter and embrace possibility.
Too often I have found myself invested in a specific outcome only to be disappointed when it did not come to pass. By approaching the bulk of life not invested in any one particular outcome I am embracing the idea that in any given situation there are myriad possible outcomes many of which might actually be enjoyable to me. In this way I open myself up to new, different experiences, decrease the chances that I will be disappointed, and expend my energy only on the outcomes which I truly value.
Take more risks.
Because sometimes not taking the risk is a more wrong move than taking the risk.
Yes, they are big, and yes they are not easily achieved since each one represents a fundamental shift in not just behavior – exercising more, eating better, quitting smoking, etc., etc., ad infinitum – as most resolutions are but more a shift in the way in which I approach the sacred transaction that is my life.
The most important thing that I learned this year I learned in one of those student/teacher moments that comes so unexpectedly that if you’re not paying attention you miss entirely: I learned that I really do want to keep living.
And learning that makes everything else that I experienced this year, both good and not so good, worth it.