Over the holidays I caught a rerun of “Angels in America.” At the end, Prior Walter speaks directly to the audience with a beautiful monologue. At one point he says, “More life…the world only spins forward.” It was the perfect inspiration for January’s series, Fresh.
There are still a couple of friends who publish a yearly recap with their Christmas cards. Some people dread these newsletters, but consider this: if someone asked you to go month by month in 2013, could you? Or did you spend last year saying, “I can’t believe it’s _____ (Summer, back to school, Christmas, etc.). I don’t know where the time went!”
It’s a common complaint, but why are the days and months flying by in a sad, monochrome blur? Are you lost in a combination of tedious monotony and a rush to get to the next thing? Or perhaps you’re so hyper-focused on your daily stresses that you hardly notice the seasons changing.
What’s the antidote? How about using mindfulness skills to stay in present time this year? I’m not discounting goal setting and looking toward the future. Instead, I’m encouraging you to consciously embrace every day, even the times that are less than perfect.
Envision vibrantly describing this year both at its end and many years later. If you’re a parent, you’ll have an idea of what I mean. Ask parents and grandparents about children at various ages, and they often give you an excited tidbit. “She was so verbal at 3!” “He was always such a social kid, even when he left elementary and started a new middle school. He never knew a stranger.” “She really blossomed in high school once she started Advanced Placement classes. They put her in an incredible circle. Those years were so different than junior high.”
Think how you will describe 2014 at the holiday party in December. Not just major milestones, but simple pleasures. How about a year filled with the joy of eating al fresco or by the water? A year where you embraced self-care by practicing Meatless Mondays? Or a year when you spent the first Saturday of every month laughing non-stop with your best friend at breakfast?
Embracing mindfulness reminds us that every year is important. Imagine looking back in 10 years and recounting stories like: “I was older than the rest of my law school class, but I wanted to go back to school. I became a lawyer at 38.” “My fiancee broke up with me at 29, and I decided to go to Paris instead of the Hawaii vacation we planned. What a great choice – I can’t wait to go back.” Or, “When the boss took credit for my work for the umpteenth time, it was time to consult. I was 44.”
This week, resolve that 2014 is the year you’re going to enjoy the journey as well as the destination. Whether you’re doing something for the first time or the hundredth, mindfulness will make it fresh. You can use Tony Kushner’s amazing writing as your first affirmation: More life.