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Looking Back, Leaning Forward, Have a Great New Year!

I've been mulling the direction of this New Year's  post for the past week. I began with the idea of suggesting we list our goals for the coming year, looking forward with optimism to the days ahead and all that we want to accomplish. Then I considered asking for your list of all things that you are grateful for in the year gone by. One way or another, New Year's Day is a time for reflection.

Somehow though, it always feels different than other holidays we celebrate through the year. It lacks the decorative, emotional, cultural and religious  build up of Christmas or the patriotism of July 4th. Oh, I suppose there are commonalities: the glass of champagne, fireworks, the parties, the kiss at midnight, singing a familiar song, the list of resolutions. But celebrating the passage of time with family and friends, New Year's is much like a communal birthday, a time when we all take at least a moment to assess where we are and where we want to go.

So, rather than lists of gratitude and resolutions I've found two suggestions, both from one of my favorite websites The First 30 Days. The first suggestion is a list of questions to consider as we take stock of the past year, what we've accomplished and what is still on our 'to do' list moving forward. Here's a copy of the list:

10 questions to ask yourself that will radically change your view of 2009:

1) Whom did I meet this year who is now in my life?
2) What emotion really caused me to grow? Courage? Faith?
3) What emotion was I unafraid to feel? Fear? Sadness?
4) What am I most proud of?
5) In what area of my life did I really make some progress?
6) What did I do that completely surprised me and was unexpected to me?
7) Whom did I really help?
8) What is the biggest lesson I really faced?
9) What am I most grateful for?
10) What were the most fun times I had?

Looking forward to the coming year,  Ariane suggested a new twist on the old standard resolutions. Rather than coming up with a laundry list, why not choose one word that reflects your theme for the coming year? How about 'Peace' or 'Change' or 'Health'? I like this idea, because it can be as specific or as global as you want it to be. On the one hand, it carries less psychic weight than an 'I will' statement, on the other hand one word can encapsulate and focus our attention and intentions on a special project.

For me, this year my word is 'Career'. I've made my move to the mountains. Now, I want to create a career that brings me the joy I felt as a young competitive swimmer, or the thrill I felt when I first worked on Wall Street. The happiest people I know have this one thing in common, they LOVE what they is indeed play for them. I'm sure I've used this example before but one of the most stellar examples of this is my mother, who today even at the age of 83 still speaks longingly (and threateningly!) of going to the local elementary school here in Evergreen to volunteer her services as an Early Childhood Specialist. That's the joy that I want to recapture in my next career. What could be better than that?

So how about you? What one word will be your touchstone for the coming year? Please share with us in the Comments section.

And in this last post of 2009, let me take this opportunity to thank all of you for traveling this road with me over the past year, for sharing your own journey on your blogs, comments, or email. I wish you blessings, joy, and wishes come true in the New Year!

Kisses and hugs,


Beth said…
Happy New Year, Miss Suzanne and Mom!
Beth said…
and oh, love that I made your blog!!!
Keetha said…
Vibrant is my word for the new year. It's what my post is about today! Great minds think alike. :-)

Happy New Year - stay warm!
Madge said…
I've been thinking about a couple of words for the new year -- gratitude, purpose, and being Positive -- no negeative nagging at my family....

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