Last night I rewatched the last two episodes of Ted Lasso, since I’m letting my subscription go. I heard again this great Ted quote: “You know, I don’t know about you, but I hope that either all of us, or none of us, are judged by the actions of our weakest moments, but rather, by the strength we show when, and if, we’re ever given a second chance.”
Second chances is a theme throughout the show. So what is New Year’s Day but a chance to do better and be better, a chance to make our actions match our heart’s best intentions?
This could be said, of course, for any new day, week, or even moment. Do better, be better, try again. So you’ve just said something unkind (we all do). Do better. Soften, apologize, say the kind thing. It’s always possible to change the next moment, to start again, to create our own second chances if we have to, and make good on them.
I love New Year’s Day for formalizing the setting of intentions. It’s a beautiful opportunity to give yourself a second chance at being your best self, at setting personal goals and working hard to follow them through, at looking back over the year that just ended with honesty, gratitude, and clarity. What did I set out to do and what did I actually do? What might I want to do differently in the coming year?
I’m writing this on December 31st, my day to look back over the year. Like young Woody Guthrie (above), I did wash my teeth, take baths and change my socks. I read lots of good books, loved my others and made up my mind about some things. Today I wrote out a list of the big things I did in 2023. There were lots of them. Again, I shake my head at my lucky life. I thank the universe or God or the angels or whomever is responsible. Tomorrow I will write out my intentions for 2024. I will include things like “Open the mail when it arrives,” along with higher goals. A friend invited me to make 2024 the Year of Yes. Of course I said YES.
New Year’s Resolutions are an invitation to say yes and give yourself another chance. Why not take it?
“Every Saint has a past. Every Sinner has a future.” ― Oscar Wilde
“You can’t go back and make a new start, but you can start right now and make a brand-new ending. — James P. Sherman, Rejection
“There’s always a second act. Always.” ― Ken Liu, Speaking Bones
“Somehow, miraculously, everything had fallen into place as it was supposed to all along. Through heartbreak and sorrow, sacrifice and drudgery, through hope lost and hope regained, I’d learned little by little to be honest. To pay attention. To seek joy. And through all the ups and downs, the tears and bittersweet lessons, my lemon of a life had gradually been transformed into this—the most deliciously sweet, perfectly imperfect second chance I could ever imagine.” ― Rachel Linden, The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie
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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.”