I recently mailed out my annual year in review – a holiday letter that comes after the holidays because in the midst of November – December, I just don’t have time. This year was no exception.
Some think holiday letters are simply to brag about oneself, as one of my best friends tells me each year; others find joy in seeing whether or not they “made it” in my newsletter; and still others probably could do without. When I first began writing these “holiday letters,” now turned into “year in review,” it was simply a personal gratitude exercise for me and a mechanism to take lessons learned from sometimes, not so perfect years – at least from my perspective. As I become more mature and wiser, I hope, it’s important to remember and reflect on the people and opportunities that I have been gifted, rather than focus on what I didn’t get or not accomplish in that year. Because let’s face it, we are own worst critics and it’s much easier to see what we don’t have, than what we do have.
I have become more reflective in recent years, most likely in my maturing age, because I have been faced with more deaths and losses. As such, I try my best to be better than who I was last year, sometimes so much so, that I try too hard to gain others approval and to be perfect. But I am so far from perfect and when you’ve arrived at my age, having learned what I only know, change can be hard – especially bad habits or ways of knowing. What’s even harder is to not fall victim to your own criticism or others who may not know the original path you came from and as a result, judge you for being less than what you are expected to be.
This year’s letter began with, “I am younger each year at the first snow. When I see it, suddenly, in the air, all little and white and moving; then I am in love again and very young and believe everything.” – Ann Sexton.
I chose this quote because 1) It fit the theme of the letterhead that I was using – ha! 2) I have struggled with getting older, but have realized – if that’s what I focus on, then I miss all the wonderful moments that have surrounded me and the magic that exists and is exempt from any age. It’s also a reminder that as each year passes, as each day passes, everyone has a choice on how to live. And sometimes, what you ask for, is answered, but not often not in ways you expected – but in better ways that you could not even imagine for yourself. So as you continue on about your daily life in 2014, think about how you have chosen to live each day. Have you chosen to live in a way that uplifts yourself and others? This year, I have chosen to focus my words and actions through love, speaking words of hope and positivity, and always believing in myself and others – even if there is no evidence for me to do so.