Well, if you’re reading this then the world definitely did not end during any time Dec. 21, 2012, as so many certified alarmists on the Internet with a misunderstanding of the Mayan calendar told us. You’re thrilled, right?
Although the world didn’t end, we are fast approaching a new year. I know it’s not even Christmas yet, but this is my last column of the year, so I figured I would go ahead and get this out of the way.
It’s a time when most people start thinking “out with the old, and in with the new.” The time when we decide we’re going to commit to making big changes in our lives.
Although it’s really just symbolic, there is a mental cleansing of sorts that seems to take place on the new year. That idea that all the negative we’ve experience in the last year can be left behind, and we’ve got a 365-day clean slate ahead of us to start fresh and positively reinvent ourselves.
I’m looking forward to it; my life changed dramatically over the last year, and it was no easy process. Between divorce, adjusting to an ever-changing new job and the death of a grandparent, 2012 won’t exactly go down in the personal history book as my favorite year.
I didn’t idly by; I continually pressed forward and didn’t wait for the new year to put some sort of separation between the past year’s events and my future. However, the year coming to a close does help instill a better idea of being able to start over.
This past year hasn’t been a banner year as a society, either. The recent killings in Newtown, Conn., alone make it hard to look back at 2012 in a positive light.
A contentious election season, like our community hasn’t seen before, also doesn’t do much to bolster this year’s image. And depending on your political beliefs, the outcomes may not sit well for the coming years either.
Money continues to be an issue for, well, pretty much everyone. The school board has issued one of its most dour outlooks for the next fiscal year, and I’ll remind everyone that they’re looking for suggestions on dealing with those budget shortfalls – email@example.com.
So, what to do? What I’ve learned is that focusing on the past and “what ifs” and “what could have beens” is useless. We are humans and have the uncanny evolutionary ability of adaptation.
Past mistakes are learning opportunities, but focusing on them and wishing for a different outcome changes nothing. Pointing out and dwelling on others’ mistakes, or perceived mistakes, also isn’t a solution.
The negative aspects of life are unavoidable, and shouldn’t be covered up, ignored or overlooked. However, allowing the negatives to dictate or overshadow one’s outlook is just as fallacious as wearing rose-colored glasses.
Some people let the past dictate them, or fail to move on after a life-changing event. It’s easy to give up and lay blame at the doors of those who failed you, those actions that didn’t follow the course you expected or the unavoidable changes that blindsided you.
We don’t have to be developmentally arrested by our past, as individuals and as a society, rather we can adjust to our surroundings and move forward. The trick is not to let go of our purpose, our goals, but keep it positive. Bitterness is just another excuse to dwell on past mistakes and failures. Get the anger out, and find how to reach your goals in a way that doesn’t require breaking down someone else’s.
I pledge to make 2013 a more positive experience, take the good with the bad and not be grounded by the things that would hold me down. I challenge everyone out there to do the same.