Here we are on the verge of a new year, and like many, I find myself looking forward to some new goals, habits and accomplishments I want to see in 2017. Tempted to launch into my typical list making mode, I caught myself this year, and took a little different approach. I took the time to say “good-bye”.
Before you leave…
A few days ago, I found myself circling the Denver airport repeatedly, as my husband got my sweet mother-in-law handed off for her flight home. I slowly passed the departure drop off, waiting as long as I could before security headed my way. I saw so many people saying good bye–most with a quick hug, a high five or a wave. Some of them may have been glad to be saying good-bye–too much time together under the guise of “happy family”. Who knows.
But one couple in particular caught my eye …I don’t know if it was a husband/wife, or brother/sister, or good friends, but they hugged long, then held arms and looked at each other, exchanging words that made them smile. It was clear that they didn’t want to rush the good-bye, maybe not knowing when they would see each other again (I sometimes fill in stories, don’t judge me–it’s cheap entertainment!).
As I continued to circle, I began to reflect on the importance of a “good” good-bye. How often we lurch from one thing to the next, without really taking in the experience—be it good, or hard. I began to think about what needed to be acknowledged, what could be learned from some of my experiences and what did I need to affirm as good?
Review the year
The mind is a funny thing. We are more likely to remember the things we HAVEN’T accomplished, than the many things we DID finish. The perfectionist in me is all too guilty of focusing on the undone or the negative. So…to my journal I went, and reviewed the past year. It was a powerful exercise for 2 reasons.
1. I was able to identify patterns that at some level I knew, but tended to minimize their effects. By naming the patterns that kept me from accomplishing more of what I SAID I wanted, I was able to create a plan that addressed these realities. We can’t change what we can’t acknowledge.
2. I was able to see that an overriding obligation this past year was the care of my mother, who was in the end stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. Though this was not a stated “goal” for 2016, it permeated my thoughts and plans. I beat myself up for not doing more in other areas, when I was actually doing what my heart had set out to do. It just hadn’t quite informed the performer part of my brain. She passed on November 5. I realized that this had consumed far more energy than I could have imagined, yet I was grateful that I was able to love and care for her as I would want to be cared for. And that was a huge accomplishment, for which I had not given myself much credit.
I now feel ready to move forward with the dreams and goals that await in 2017.
Travel lightly into the New Year, with a “good” good-bye to what is now past, and embrace the possibility of what lies in today, and tomorrow.
1. Are you willing to look some regrets/mistakes in the eye and let go?
2. Has someone disappointed you? Are you willing to acknowledge and forgive?
3. Are you willing to be kind to yourself, and let go of areas you didn’t succeed in or maybe didn’t even attempt? Look for patterns that were not helpful, and make plans that take these patterns into account.
4. Just as important as letting go, is affirming the good. Look those successes in the eye and CELEBRATE the things you DID do well–
Did you love those in your circle well?
Did you remain faithful to your spouse?
Did you remain faithful to your family commitments?
Did you do something that made you proud, EVEN IF no one else recognized it?