The start of a new year is, for many, a time of great significance. An opportunity to wipe the slate clean, to live a more healthy life, or to wave a not-so-fond farewell to a previous year, the chiming of the midnight hour on 31st December offers as much hope as the most joyful of dawn choruses.
Yet for some the New Year offers no respite from the one preceding it. And for a few, all it has to offer is greater challenges and increased worry. As the year turned, my mind was full of these people and how I might be worrying if I walked in their shoes. And looking back upon times in my own life that had been very bleak, I concluded that I had spent a great deal of that time worrying, and yet that doing so hadn’t changed a thing.
I once believed I was a creature of habit. That’s not to say that I didn’t like to travel, or to try different cuisines, or to experience different cultures. But I liked the things I called ‘my foundations’ to remain the same. Remove one of these, I thought, and I go a bit wobbly. Thinking about the challenging periods in my life, however, it dawns on me that I am not so rigid as I had once believed; that my foundations stem from me rather than something or someone else. And that rather than resisting, I have withstood the greatest of life’s storms by being flexible, and sometimes, by even letting go.
There are things in life we can effect; our diet, our lifestyle choices, our relationships. And yes, if any of these are areas of concern, we have the right and the ability to do something about them. But things like death and illness we cannot control. And though we all tend to narrow our focus in times of difficulty and to concentrate on the clouds, how much more positive would we feel, I wonder, if we held on to the notion that somewhere just behind them the sun still shone? I try not to worry about the time I’ve wasted worrying… But I do wonder, during past moments at Christmas, when my eyes fell upon the empty dining chair and I wished my dad was still alive, what hilarity I might have missed going on just behind me.
Night is followed by day. Winter is followed by spring. So is it really so foolish to hope that every tear is followed by laughter? Pondering my previous years, it seems that it’s the challenges that have given me strength, the sadness that’s made the happiness real, and the grief that’s opened my heart to greater love.
I enter 2016 calmly and with serenity. Perhaps, then, it’s easy for me to look on the brighter side of life. But I do remember a time when the New Year began very differently. And thinking back, I wonder, when my head was down and my eyes were focussed on the shit at my feet, how many rainbows faded over my head?
My lovely dad ended our wedding speech with the following quotation. At the time I believed his reference was purely materialistic. With a few more years under my belt however, I believe something else entirely:-
“Remember, to be upset about what you don’t have,
is to waste your time with what you have.”
Happy New Year, everyone.
Big Love. Xxx