After taking the holidays to pause, it’s time to grasp the new year. The days before and after the December celebrations offer an opportunity to evaluate what’s essential in life in preparation for the months ahead. It’s time to ease into another year — slowly.
Over the holidays I thought about the health challenges faced by both my husband and me in the past months. Those thoughts made me appreciate the many good times during the year — Wednesday family dinners, cottage weekends, and birthday celebrations.
These reflections helped me to realize — again — how important it is to savour those good days and enjoy the moments of happiness. There are so many things that can’t be changed or controlled. This understanding helped me to make peace with all that happened in the past year.
By acknowledging the events of the past months, I prepared myself for what’s to come in the future. I’m not running to embrace an uncertain future but I’m confident that I have the resilience to accept what the new year brings.
The Process of Reflection
My reflections on easing into the New Year happened mainly as I went about the business of ‘putting away’ Christmas.
Christmas trees look lovely when decorated, but re-packing and organizing all the ornaments is a chore. Thank goodness, we limited ourselves to two trees this year — one in the living room and a family tree that our grandchildren decorated! Wrapping and sorting tree ornaments brought memories that prolonged the job.
I laundered the Christmas linens and packed placemats, napkins, tablecloths, and guest towels in another container. The process took a full day and brought more memories — of meals we shared– and of festivities that we missed. Mobility constraints meant saying no to seasonal activities that we usually attend and enjoy.
I organized Christmas paraphernalia before storing everything in the large red totes purchased some years ago. Each area of the house was packed into a storage tote that will, hopefully, make it easier to unpack next year. Because of continuing mobility challenges, this took three days!
As I filled each container, the click of lids served as an analogy to packing away life’s struggles during the past months. Acknowledging the painful times that I faced allowed me to set them aside and make room for moving on.
Healing takes time. But, like cleaning after the holidays, it’s a necessary step to ensure that the future isn’t shortchanged.
A Shift in Perspective
Easing into the new year requires a shift in perspective. New beginnings — whether it’s a new day or a new week or a new year — are exciting and invigorating.
This is my time to embrace activities and renew social bonds. Moving forward will require intentional and persistent effort to re-start relationships that were neglected during the pandemic and, more recently, during illness.
I’ll accept invitations and show up to meet my friends. I’m ready to try some new things and old ones too. I don’t want life to continue without my full involvement.
To prepare, I’ve gone for a much-needed haircut to freshen the look. I’ll search my closets for brightly coloured clothes to keep a happy mood. Because it’s winter in Canada, I’m also injecting new colours into our home with fresh spring flowers to spruce up the post-Christmas rooms.
Easing into the new year also means savouring the little beauties of each day. After all, slow and steady wins the race — or so the old expression goes. Starting slow; feeling happy with small wins; and enjoying the wonderful moments as they arise — that’s my strategy for easing into the new year.