Sunday, December 30, 2007

Starting anew....

The time is here. I stopped by Barnes and Noble today to find a few books and found myself bombarded by the tables projecting new 'yous' and new life with the help of new diets, new exercise regimes, new lovers, new personal themes, etc. Of course the largest group of books for the new year are those on changing your looks (in one way or another). Savvy store marketing.

Wish I could say that I was above those sort of new year resolutions but the truth is that I love New Years. Like Christmastime New Year's allows me a chance to bond with my family, play random games from our family game closet, and reflect on the themes of the season.

Our family, my mother in particular, has always been drawn to symbolic rituals. My favorite occurs at New Year's. At some point during the celebration, usually after diner, my mom brings out the candles. Each year the candles and their destination differ, but the general practice remains the same. We each get an unlit candle. My Mom lights a candle in the middle of the table. Each person reflects, silently, on the year that has past and then makes a hope/wish for the next year. When they are ready they light the candle from the central one and hold it until all are lit. We then each place our candle in the middle with the original one and it burns through the rest of the party. We can discuss our hope if we want (some do) or we can keep it as a personal desire.



Traditions can be strange and no doubt some of those reading this will find the above ritual a little, uncomfortable. Visually it is one of the most beautiful things I have been a part of. Spiritually it is something I anticipate each year as a way to force myself to take time to look forward. It is always so easy to be caught up with the here and now.

This year will be no different. I can already tell you what I hope for as it has been on my mind for the last month. I hope that the decisions that I make can be made with clarity and with a clear vision of the future. This might sound obtuse but as I look over this past year, and even before, many of my decisions were made out of momentary emotion.

At this moment in our lives we are in a prime spot to change so much about how our future appears. We can, and are taking steps to, change the way we manage money, parent our children, love each other, love ourselves, and relate in the world. For example, Eric and I have decided that it is time for me to go back to work. For many reasons. Honestly I've had my moments with the kids where I long for the day to go back to work, but now that it is is a reality it is one met with much deeper and mixed feelings. And with this I have the chance to really make a difference for our family, for myself, and for the organization I work with.

I hope that my decisions are made on solid foundation so that when I reflect back next year I can see, even if things were hard, the positive change.

3 comments:

Terina said...

i had no idea about your candle lighting thing.
you can make this change. just don't allow your emotions to be the entire reason for your decisions. just call me and get it all out, and then focus on the reality of things after you get your tears and whatever else needs to come out, out. i'll be doing some of that to you soon....are you ready??

Jen said...

What a sweet family ritual. I'm trying hard to create meaning filled rituals & traditions for my family too. I like the idea of directing resolutions after reflecting on the past year-I blogged about looking for resolution in life rather than listing resolutions the other day, but I really liked the way you described reflecting for an entire month on the decisions you are making.

Good luck with the job hunt! That is a very scary move to make.

It's just me... said...

Thanks TJ. I was so glad to have a real chance to catch up. Only wish you didn't have to a) stay up to 2:30am to do it and b) sit in a hotel bathroom! Oh the things we will laugh about in our old age!

Jen - it is always difficult to find true meaning in new rituals with out just 'going through the motions'. I wish you luck in your search! And I LOVED your blog about resolution.

And to both of you...yes I am scared.