This is the time of year when the TV journalists put together their year-at-a-glance stories, with all the memorable film clips and headlines that have marked the past year. I’m fascinated by these retrospectives, wondering how an entire year could already have passed by--and at the same time, amazed as I’m reminded of all the things that happened in twelve months. There’s some relief and optimism as we put some finality on the year, and with the simple turn of the calendar’s last page, we say goodbye, 2010.
Sometimes it helps us to declare an ending to certain things so that we can move forward with new ideas and expectations. I remember when G came home from school as a fifth grader, telling us that just before a writing project, their class held a funeral--complete with a coffin and a burial--for the word “like.” The teacher thought it might be helpful for their vocabulary development if these pre-teens discover how to use some of the other words in the English language. That teacher was, like, genius.
Now as 2010 comes to a close, it’s time to ponder what the new year could possibly bring. Time to make room for new things to take place, things that take us beyond and make life interesting. Time to invest in the now, the next, the new.
We need to make room by getting rid of some of the old things that are interfering with our own possibilities. What things in our lives should we declare are “over?” For some of us, it might be procrastination or self-doubt. For others, perhaps it’s nasty habits or relationships that are destructive in our lives. Some of us faced tragedy and loss in 2010, and our next steps may still be unclear. Nevertheless, closing out a year can be a symbolic opportunity for change.
This is a point when taking a look back at the year can be most helpful. Not so much to reminisce or to be sentimental, but to examine things somewhat analytically. To be objective, as much as we possibly can, and ask the important questions. What difference have I made in others’ lives? What improvements did I make in my own life? In what ways must I challenge myself more?
What things will we end, so that we make room for the new?