What about a year makes it worth remembering? Why do we celebrate a holiday named for giving thanks? What constitutes a merry Christmas? Why do end-of-year holidays get so much attention? Why all the hype?
Reminisce. This time of year lends itself to retrospection, and lots of it. This year has marked my strangest, most unpredictable, adventurous, risky, and uncertain season of life. In some ways, it’s been the most fulfilling, although I have scores of highlights in years past which deserve honorable credit. In other ways, it has come with letdowns, unprepared transitions, loss.
But especially in this vein of thinking, we seem to romanticize and sensationalize everything in the past, much like we tend to overanticipate and overplan elements of our future.
I don’t want to live in the past. I don’t want to be lost in the future. I want to live here. Now.
The Here and Now
It’s valuable to remember where we’ve been, and to look to what we hope to be, do and share in the future, but if we put too much stock in either of those, I wonder if we miss out on the most productive, compelling and beautiful stories right before us.
This year, I’ve been challenged to live a better story. I’ve been challenged to take perhaps my largest leap of faith and move two thousand miles to a place I’ve never been, to do something I’ve never done, to share life with people I’ve never heard of. I’ve been challenged to leave behind my dear family and closest lifelong friends. I’ve been challenged to stretch the boundaries of my comfort zone just a little bit wider. I’ve been challenged to sleep less and share initially awkward conversations with those who are unfamiliar. I’ve been challenged to take more seriously the words of a homeless Middle Eastern man who says that dying is better than living, because that’s where one actually finds life. I’ve been challenged to get a bigger vision of a God I claim to follow, to have a little bigger faith, to believe a little crazier things are possible.
The New Year
Maybe a new year is about having a little bigger imagination. Taking steps a little further than anticipated. Growing an attitude more fluid and adventurous no matter the schedule or surroundings.
New years are dangerous. But good.