I know that many people are anxious to put 2020 behind them. But I never want to trash a whole yearâ€“and aren’t there always good things about any year you’ve lived through? I’ll just answer for youâ€“yes. Even so, I do love celebrating the start of a new one.
A new year offers the chance to make grand plans, set good intentions and move forward. To be the best version of yourself. To embrace the perfect, true Self that Deepak Chopra says we all possess, that can never be altered or broken. January, set in the cold dark winter, is, for me, energizing and full of promise.
“And now let us believe in a long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have never been.”
Rainer Maria Rilke
So first, on New Year’s Eve I like to consider what I want to leave behind before starting a new year. These have to be things that I have the power to leave behind, like my attitude about something, a habit or way of thinking that doesn’t serve me well, or hurts and slights that I haven’t let go of. Sometimes I write them on pieces of paper and burn them, for good measure.
And then on New Year’s Day I write New Year’s Resolutions. Always. This year I’m going to take one thing I’ve learned from 2020 and build on it. Let’s all do it!
Pick out one particular difficulty, one frailty you’ve struggled with, one aspect of the year that was particularly trying. Then use it as a new way of seeing who you are, a discovery, or a new direction. And instead of hoping to be rid of it, how about embracing it and making it your biggest ally in 2021? If you struggled with loneliness, for example, you could see that as your capacity for loving people. This is a strength. Make it a goal to connect with people in new ways, whether you can be with them or not. Celebrate this giftâ€“your love of othersâ€“and connect in creative, new, original ways.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
If you’re looking for my cards or art, you’ll find all of that on myÂ website. And if you like this letter, you’ll find past letters and poems here.
It’s nice for me to think of you out there, reading this. I know that your one difficulty will turn out to be a great strength in 2021.
Thanks for listening,
P.S. MerryThoughts is the name of my first book, out of print at the moment. The word is a British one, referring both to a wishbone and to the ritual of breaking the wishbone with the intention of either having a wish granted or being the one who marries first, thus the “merry thoughts.”