I always find myself more pensive than usual on New Year’s Eve. I say more so than usual because I tend to ponder and over think most everything. But on this particular day of the year, I experience a heightened sense of awareness that another year of my life is coming to an end and a new one is on the verge of unfolding. The only thing separating the past year and the year to come is a few hours on the clock and a massive ball that drops in New York City. I reflect upon the 365 days that have once again passed too quickly. Moments wrapped up in a beautiful collision of experiences that were exhilarating, some painful and some challenging. Moments that I will never walk through again in my life. Not the exact same moments anyway. They are like photographs captured in my memory now.
Tomorrow morning I will awake with the next year before me like a blank canvas waiting for the first stroke of the brush. I often think of the lyrics to one of my favorite songs by the alternative rock band, Switchfoot. The song is titled "This Is Your Life,” the premise being that today is all you have and a chorus which asks, “This is your life, are you who you want to be?” It takes guts to ask yourself that question. It’s an honest, vulnerable question which opens the possibility and exposure that the answer might be no. And no is a tough reality check. It means acknowledging that no, I am not who I want to be. Or no, I am not where I thought I would be at this point in my life. And the answer to one question often leads to another question that begs to be asked. Because if the answer is no, then I must ask myself, “What am I going to do about it?”
I do believe that most people who find themselves dissatisfied with their life deeply desire change. But let’s face it, change is far from easy. Mostly because of the well known idiom, Old habits die hard. And oh do they ever. Any pattern, situation or dysfunction can become normal. And I do mean anything. You might be surprised at what the human psyche can adapt and adjust to. But difficult does not mean impossible and we don’t have to resign to life as it currently is.
There are many things I want to be in life. More present. More intentional in things that really matter. More relational. More authentic. More gentle with myself. That’s the short list.
But all these things I want more of will require less of something else. A recent retweet of mine was a quote (the original author I am unsure of) that said, “anytime you say yes to one thing you’re simultaneously saying NO to an infinite number of others."
More of the things I want will require a list of less. Less busyness. Less noise. Less of a schedule I can’t keep up with. Less of the mindless Facebook scroll. Less defined by the opinion of others.
Yes….I’ll take a Venti size of…..Less.
Because before I know it, I’ll be sitting at New Years Eve of 2017 with 365 more days that I will never get back. One of my favorite authors is a guy named James. And he just so happens to be the brother of Jesus. In one of the best books ever written, James says, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”
In other words, as quickly as a mist appears and then disappears, that is your life. That is my life. There are a lot of things I can live with. Mostly because I have to. I can live with failures and past mistakes. Because I know that I am incredibly and frustratingly human. But I don’t have to live with my life passing like a vapor and wishing I could redo my one and only life. I can choose to reflect and change in the here and now.
Are you who you want to be and if not, what are you going to do about it? Cheers to becoming who you really want to be…..Happy New Year.