It is that time of year where it behooves us to take inventory of the year that is coming to a close and, at the same time, begin making plans on how we want to embrace the next chapter (albeit, a calendar-based transition). I love the feeling I get during the second half of December – the holidays have been organized, I’m slowing down on the number of clients I see during the last week of the year, and I get to reminisce on the happy memories from the year and valuable lessons I have learned. And then boom – I get a personal-life mulligan. There is something so refreshing about the newness of January 1st. It feels as though the world is my oyster and there is a vast land of possibility stretching out in front of me.
I’m inviting everyone else to squirrel away some time to reflect on what 2022 has left in your lap. Did you make any big changes in your life that have significantly altered the direction of your existence (new city, new marriage, new baby, new divorce)? Was there a heartbreak you are still trying to heal? Did you finally begin or conquer a task that has long been on your to-do list?
In reflection, I feel satisfaction in that I finally started the podcast (with much help from my co-host, Jess) I had been talking about for eons, dove into healing some old wounds with EMDR therapy as a client, and trained to provide EMDR as a therapeutic modality for my clients. I attribute much of my progress to having another year without alcohol blurring my focus. It is also apparent to me that this year is almost gone and not all our friends and family made it – a reminder to never take for granted the people that you love.
One of my favorite traditions to follow at this time of the year is creating a special WORD to be my mantra for the following year. Previous words I have chosen are abundance, balance, and inspiration. It is important to sit and think about how the word can be applicable to my life in different ways because every year I find joy in how the word has shown up for me in various aspects of my life.
This year I chose bittersweet. First-off, I loved the book by the same name written by Susan Cain. And I felt it was important to honor the huge burgeoning transition of my daughter, Lily, leaving for college next fall. I want to savor all the little moments I have left with her and, at the same time, embrace the newness that will happen parenting one less child on a daily basis. The word is defined by Webster as arousing pleasure tinged with sadness or pain. It is apparent that Lily leaving will bring me sadness, so it is the pleasure part I am hoping to ignite!
The other ritual I enjoy at the years’ end is creating a list of things I would like to conquer in the upcoming 365 days. The key is to recognize that not all the things will be checked off; however, I am never disappointed when I take inventory. I borrowed this idea from Gretchen Rubin, author extraordinaire about habits and happiness. She suggests making a “23 for 2023” list to identify your aims for the upcoming year. These items can be easy or ambitious; one-time undertakings or habits that stretch for years; fun or… less fun. There’s no one right way to make your list – just think about what you want the new year to hold.
So, I raise my glass of kombucha in a toast to YOU. What word will help guide and define you in 2023? What 23 things will you aspire to accomplish in this next lap around the sun? I’m excited for all the possibilities!