“So this is Christmas and what have you done? Another year over, and a new one just begun,”  sings John Lennon.  I hear this song at the holidays every year, and most years it makes me question myself.  Have I done anything worthwhile?  Have accomplished anything for myself?  Have I given back?  Have I grown and been a good person?  This year, though, is has been different.  I hear this song and find myself nodding.  Yes, this was a good year, and one with less fear.   I have done something to make my life different:  I chased after a dream, and I found my center.  It may not have changed the world, but it changed me.  My life is not what it was a year ago, and for me that’s something to celebrate.

The path to changing my life didn’t start just one year ago, and the road isn’t done yet.  But, the new year began today, and it’s a good time to think about what is ahead.  I believe that how you begin the year sets the tone; what you do on day one will carry through.  I contemplated this as I drove back from visiting family this evening and asked myself: what do today’s activities foreshadow about my year?  What did I do that will matter?  I realized that, while none of the traditions my friends and I have established were done today- thanks mostly to the rain- I still did some things I’d like to continue doing.

I rang in the new year last night with a pair of parties and probably a little more fun than one should have on a daily basis, but I did so with caution and awareness.  Gone are the binges and hangovers of my twenties, it seems.  I paid attention and didn’t over do it. I kept in mind not just the moment but the lessons I’ve learned and the results I wanted.  I was purposeful about what I chose to do.

This morning, I slept in, resting until I’d had enough sleep and not guilting myself for ‘wasting’ the morning as I’ve done in the past.  I didn’t push myself to go and do all day today, either.  Instead I made some phone calls to people who are important to me (my mother and boyfriend for example), visited with the loved ones near me, and took it easy, not getting upset that what we always do on New Years Day didn’t happen this year.  I went with the flow and I took care of myself.

I took the next step with my novel as well today.  I finally got brave enough to place copies of it in the hands of some of the people who will be reading and critiquing it for me, so that I can go back to Costa Rica ready to edit.  I moved forward in this dream of mine, and did so boldly.

I’ve never been a resolution girl, but it’s good to know that the choices I made today were good ones, ones I’d like to keep making this year.  I think that I will be proud of myself a year from now if I can look back and see that I spent 2011 enjoying myself, being purposeful and owning my choices, connecting with those I love, being flexible, taking care of myself, and moving forward boldly with my work.  It was, I think, a good way to start the year.  Hopefully you, too, have spent 1-1-11 doing the kinds of things you want to continue doing all year long.  May the coming year bring you good things and happiness.

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