The first month of 2023 has passed, how are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions?
New beginnings. Isn’t that the battle cry when one year departs and the new one arrives?
The arrival is met with great expectations and hopes that you will wake up newly-committed to an improved version of yourself. Does that ever work for anybody? Usually, the dawning of a new year is ushered in with the same old model of yourself. And the new resolve becomes one more reinforcement of all that you are not.
The song, Auld Lang Syne, written around 1788 and popularized by Mr. New Year’s Eve, Guy Lombardo, is the suggestion that we do an inventory of the past year. See what worked, what didn’t, what brought joy and what must be released. A new beginning.
Take a look at the definition of the word beginning. As a noun it refers to a birth or a starting. Not starting over. As an adjective it means the first portion of something that you have not done yet. A birth.
So the question becomes, “what are you giving birth to?” And the beauty is that you have, available to you, all that you have birthed in the past. All your experiences, attempts and even failures have prepared you for this birth. Every day is a beginning and you are equipped with a lifetime of lessons as your tools to make it meaningful.
This notion is so hopeful and empowering. To know that your story is not starting from scratch. Rather, kind of like sourdough bread starter, some of your work is already done. You can refine it and reshape it anyway you want to. You can let go of what no longer serves you. Some things can be gratefully left in your rear review mirror. You can tell a different story. And you can do the same thing again the next day and the day after that.
Like a flowing river, past experiences, and those yet to come, continue to influence and reshape the person we are, and the person we become. None of us are the same as we were yesterday, nor will be tomorrow.”
B. J. Neblett
The New Year legend says that Baby New Year is met on New Year’s Eve by Father Time who relays his lessons and experiences from the past year to the baby. Ideally, the baby will find value in all of the lessons. The baby is not starting from scratch, but rather from the vantage of already having lived and learned.
Like the baby in the legend, the idea that we can re-write our story anytime we choose is our liberation. You are not who you were 10 years ago or 10 weeks ago or even 10 minutes ago. The expressions “this is just the way I am,” or “I’ve always done it like this,” or “you cannot teach an old dog new tricks,” is a trap that keeps you stuck in all the old behaviors and habits that are familiar, and maybe comfortable, but limiting and ultimately destructive. Give yourself permission to re-write your story. Use your hard earned lessons to your benefit.
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