Some years (okay, most years) the last week in December makes me anxious.
It’s not really the calendar’s fault. It’s just that my expectations are all wrong.
I think the week should be full of hot tea and chocolate and journaling. I expect there will be tons of space for thinking and reflecting and planning.
In reality, it’s a week of digging wrapping paper out from under the couch, rediscovering the kitchen counters under all the holiday clutter, and helping overtired children to get back into some kind of rhythm again.
These are good things to do. They are also things that keep me from my imaginary chocolate-and-journal time.
But the calendar is not the boss of me.
I just have to remember that even though this is a great time of year for looking ahead and dreaming big, I don’t have to do things according to the calendar. I can always start New Things For the New Year next week, or the next week, or the week after that.
And I will—there are plans and projects for the next year that I’m super excited about.
In the meantime, I’m looking back at what I learned over the past year, because perspective doesn’t only come from looking ahead. It also comes from remembering where you’ve been. Knowing what road brought you here can help you choose which path to head down next.
Questions for New Year’s Reflection
I’m asking myself:
What am I proud of, from this last year?
What was my best memory? (I might want to repeat that, you know.)
What did I absolutely not expect this year?
What am I really glad to have learned?
How is my right-now-self different from the self I was on the first day of the year?
Yes, it’s all behind me. No, I can’t change the past (for better or worse). But seeing it clearly helps me understand where I am, before I try to figure out where I’m going.
You’ve got this.
If you’re moving slowly, going at your own pace instead of at the speed of the dropping New Year’s ball: take your time.
If you’re holding steady instead of resolving to change: follow your heart, not the current.
You are enough, just as you are. There is enough time, just as much as there is.
Look back, if you can. Look around, for guidance. Look ahead, when you’re ready.
And until then, you know. Keep doing the next right thing, with hope. Take deep breaths and speak kind words. (Even to yourself.) (Especially to yourself.)
I’ll see you next year.