It is December 31st. I have never been much of a New Year’s Eve party girl. Indeed, the last time I witnessed midnight turning time to January 1st was more than 35 years ago. Nevertheless, I have a fondness for performing rituals that commemorate the end of a year and the start of a new one. Sometimes my ritual is elaborate, other times it is a quiet, simple gesture to recollect the annual mingling of good-bye and hello.
Traditional end of year practices involve reflecting on the past, pressing the reset button for the future, and resolving to meet the ensuing challenges. The most popular resolutions vow a healthier diet, more exercise, or additional quality time with loved ones. There is no perfect way to reflect, reset, or resolve, so there are countless ways to approach this revered ritual. However, a common mistake is to fast forward to “resolve”, not taking the opportunity to reflect and reset. This results in a high failure rate of New Year Resolutions, which studies confirm is close to 80%.
Several years ago, after a particularly challenging year, I made a list of grievances, misfortunes, and unresolved adversities still haunting me. I wrote these scrupulously on little papers and with glass of wine in hand, threw them ceremoniously in a flaming fireplace. I then made a list of New Year Aspirations, writing these on bookmarks so I could easily refer to them throughout the year as resolution reminders. Gratefully, I never needed to repeat this specific ritual, as I never again had such a bad year, but 2020 was certainly a close second. I remember this ritual vividly because it so successfully met my ambition to reflect, reset and resolve.
Twenty-twenty was an extraordinary year, forcing a way of life upon us that we could not have imagined. I trust there will be a glut of imaginative ways to say good-bye to this year and none-too-soon for most of us. Like many people, I look forward to 2021 with resolutions born from the challenges of this last year. First, I crafted a 2021 Memories container, because 2020 continually reminded me of the preciousness of each moment. Good memories soothe the heart and fill us with positivity, I resolve to load up my tubular memory box with big and small moments to remind me how much goodness there is in life.
Another of my 2021 resolutions is to think of my friends and extended family more often. To achieve this, I took the Christmas cards I received this year and put them in a Special People Box. Each morning of 2021 I am going to take one card out and hold that person or family in my thoughts, sending them good vibes all the day long. Twenty-twenty helped us put unimportant things on the back burner, bringing to the fore, the people and things that are important to us. I resolve to hold these more intentionally.
Life is a mixture of good things, tough moments, and unforgettable, unrepeatable suffering and joy. As we turn the calendar to 2021, let us remember that how we accept, honor and live in the present, both defines and refines us.
“All the ups and downs are grace in different wrappings, sent to refine consciousness.
Say thanks to them all.” — Mooji