It’s New Year’s Eve and the world is gleefully raising a glass to the completion of the old year and the welcoming of a new. It’s a time for celebration and revelry. Like an empty page or a blank canvas, the possibilities are boundless. Let the spirit of a brand new beginning intoxicate and entice.
Celebration on this day is of course an expected behavior. Observing all holidays, as well as birthdays, weddings, and other significant or material events, is part of what we as humans consider commonplace. It’s an integral part of life.
The mere point of celebration is to pause from our daily routines, our busy lives, and the expectations and demands from others so that we can express joy, appreciation, gratitude, and thanks. We suspend the ordinary so we may spend devoted time with those we care about, and rejoice in an occasion by marking it with something special or enjoyable. Sounds lovely to me.
The final days of the year are here and soon 2014 will be a distant memory. Like every year, it has brought numerous gifts and opportunities, as well as challenges and setbacks to so many. As the media recaps the best and the worst of the year, our emotions can run the gamut—from joy and laughter, to anger and despair, and even hope and inspiration. So much life has happened in such a short span of time. It’s remarkable.
Aside from these very public events that replay over and over on our televisions and in our minds, much has also occurred in our own lives—stirring the same emotions along with many more.
For some, reflecting on these past moments and events can be difficult, and almost too painful to extract real value. After all, shouldn’t we just forget what’s happened and move forward?
It’s Christmas Eve and the promise of snow is on its way here in Chicago, enveloping our city with soft white pillows and intricately laced trees. What a wonderful gift to look forward to as we put last minute touches on our holiday feasts and festivities.The holidays can bring chaos and stress if we allow them to. Endless shopping and crowded stores, strained bank accounts and pocketbooks, pressure to attend every holiday party and gathering, and the added stress of travel mixed with unpredictable weather conditions. It can deplete our energy and drain our joy.
Instead, let’s remind ourselves what the spirit of the holiday season is about and eliminate as much of the unnecessary, over-the-top extras that really do little for our mental and spiritual wellness, much less the health of our most important relationships.
When the month of December finally arrives, are you like me where you become excited to start planning for the coming year? Do you let the idea of a fresh start and renewed focus wash over you as you reflect on past successes and failures—enthusiastically greeting a clean slate? Or are you typically looking back wondering how it went by so fast with little evidence of improvement or growth? Do you get a sense that something happened along the way that knocked you off track and you really never recovered?
The New Year introduces a shared experience where the entire world immerses itself into declaring new aspirations and opportunities. Collectively, we each want to do more, do it better, and with greater success.
re·in·vent, v. — meaning, to make major changes or improvements to (something): to present (something) in a different or new way.
I’ve always loved the idea of reinvention. Examining who we are today and where we want to go tomorrow. Renewing ourselves, our careers, personal brands, businesses, private lives—whatever it may be. It’s an opportunity to edit how we define ourselves or how others perceive us, offering a clean slate, and telling a new story. It can be exhilarating, therapeutic, and provide to us renewed energy and enthusiasm.
It can also be overwhelming, scary, challenging, and met with resistance.
When we attempt to make large or drastic changes in our lives, those around us may not be ready, or may not understand what we are trying to achieve. Maybe they liked the old version better. Maybe they were comfortable with our lack of success, making them feel better where they were. Or maybe it’s simply too much for them to handle all at once.