It’s that time of the year, isn’t it? That time when we start counting down the last days of the year, and probably the only time we take stock of the days in the year gone by.
It’s a peculiarly human trait – although not necessarily a positive one – to realise the value of something only after it has slipped from our hands. In this case, it is the passage of time – life’s most precious commodity, yet one we foolishly assume to have in great abundance.
The brutal truth is that we don’t.
New Year’s Eve is one of those rare occasions where we sit up and take notice of the slow and deliberate movement of time as it marches on from the present moment to the next. Whether it is the slow descent of the ball in the town square, the digital display emblazoned on the gateway bridge under a canopy of fireworks, or even the languid movement of the second hand in the quiet recess of the living room. For once, we consciously sit up and take notice.
And when the clock strikes midnight, the world – or at least the larger part of it – erupts with joy and happiness. It’s not because we are happy to see the end of the year and the challenges that came with it, but because we are eternal optimists at heart and we always have high hopes for a better year ahead.
And, this indeed is mankind’s solitary saving grace – our ability to hope and to persevere.
Although, like most people, I look back at 2021, with a pang of regret for all the opportunities lost, much as I look forward to 2022 with a measure of hope, there are several other feelings that I experience when I reminiscence about the last twelve months: of gratitude for having a wonderful and supportive wife and two beautiful kids who are growing so beautifully; of achievement for having written and published Red Earth Diaries and for finally embarking on my journey as a writer; of love for our extended family, some of whom we haven’t met for over two years; of being blessed with good health, a stable job, a comfortable lifestyle and the ability to put food on the table for my family. I’m also thankful for the challenges that came my way, the moments I was tested and the rejections and failures that I have endured; it’s because of such trials that I have become more resilient and resourceful.
I look forward to 2022 with renewed hope and unbridled excitement for all the events that will unfold in my life and in the lives of those around me, some favourable and some no doubt challenging.
We have two options as we step into the New Year: to waltz into 2022 aimlessly with no fixed purpose and take whatever it is that life dishes out to us, or to march into the new year with pre-defined goals and a burning desire to make things happen rather than let things happen to us.
To quote Fitzhugh Dodson: Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.
You wouldn’t want to be a rudderless ship drifting at the mercy of the prevailing currents, getting pushed in a direction you don’t want to go, would you?
So here is a challenge to myself and to you as we herald the New Year.
Set a specific task or goal that you would like to master or achieve for four specific areas of your life.
(I first came across the below segregation in Tony Robbin’s – Awaken the Giant Within during my first solo backpacking trip several years ago, and wrote my life goals that very same year. Although some of those goals are yet to be achieved, I can say with certainty that it is this singular habit of goal setting that has held me in good stead and embarked me on the path of self-awareness and personal development.)
- Personal development goals – Body, relationships, spirituality, mind/emotions (belief systems)
- Career/business/economic goals
- Toys/adventure goals
- Contribution goals
Here is a link that explains Tony’s technique in detail – Link. I recommend you use the SMART technique to help with goal setting. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
(For example: In the first category – the two goals that I have set for my body and myself as a runner who hasn’t trained for over four years, is to run 5 k under 30 minutes by June 2022 and participate in one marathon event in 2022.)
Whether you choose to do the above goal-setting exercise or not, remember that the most important thing in life is to live joyfully in the moment, immerse yourself in the experience – good or bad, and be happy and feel blessed. As Walt Whitman puts it:
Happiness, not in another place but this place…not for another hour but this hour.
The countdown begins at midnight 31st December 2021 and you have exactly 31,536,000 glorious seconds to squeeze the life out of and make lifelong memories from.
Make sure every moment counts.
I wish you all a blissful Christmas season and a promising New Year 2022.