I remember a time when New Years meant trying to figure out if I was going to have a party or where I was going to celebrate. Over the years I stayed home more often, perhaps inviting a few couples over for dinner. As midnight came closer, watches were checked frequently in order not to miss the excitement of bringing in a new year.
Well, my New Years mentality has changed dramatically. I have shifted my thinking into believing that every moment, every hour, every day, is new. I’m excited to wake up every day and find that I’m still here”! I know that part of that shift is my age. I now recognize more than ever the importance of savoring my life to the fullest when possible, since we never know when that possibility will be taken from us. I have met so many individuals who were planning celebrations that never occurred due to some unfortunate circumstance that got in the way.
This is not a column meant to dissuade anyone from gathering with friends and family to bring in the New Year, but rather to encourage the practice of celebrating life in the day-to-day! We often take the day we’re in for granted, since it is easy to believe that tomorrow will be here before you know it. Unfortunately, our tomorrows become yesterdays in the blink of an eye. One of my favorite metaphors for life is as follows: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift, that’s why they call it the present”. If we could actually embrace this mentality, life would indeed be healthier and happier.
This is not an easy path to follow. After thirty years of teaching stress management I would like to share some of what I’ve learned and what others have taught me. Every morning when you wake up, you are literally being given the opportunity to redirect your life. As you get up, shout, “ I’m back!” Then focus on what you are going to create for the day.
Open your heart and mind to the excitement of possibilities. Smile often and open the door to new ways of being. Make an intention to renew what you might have lost in your self: enthusiasm, spontaneity, childlike wonder for a pile of leaves, a puddle, or a funny little bug. Expand the unique you, have fun with yourself as if you were the most interesting person to be with.
Be open to accept new things, ideas, and people into your life which helps to create an ever-expanding capacity for joy. This may very well be the best way to bring in the New Year and all the New Years we may have ahead of us.