Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.
It's Monday afternoon and I'm lying in bed, my laptop propped up on my legs, laundry tumbling in the dryer. It is an idyllic scene, I suppose.
Lying here, I've been thinking about New Year's Eve and what it all means. The end of an era? A time to consider second chances? To make resolutions that most of us have no intention of ever keeping?
At the moment, the media is full of Year in Review stories. A lot of them are surprised that 2014 wasn't as horrible as the 'experts' were predicting. Too many of them sound disappointed by that fact, that the world didn't spin off its axis.
Of course, there were troubles in 2014. There are always troubles. Just as there are always good things happening too.
Sometimes, I think we give New Year's Eve an artificial sense of importance. It's just another date. Right? Just another secular holiday to mark the passing of time.
It doesn't actually mean anything.
Or does it?
There are a lot of people who probably wouldn't look back at the past year, their choices, their lives, if not for New Year's Eve. There are a lot of people who wouldn't take stock of what they've got and decide that they've either (a) got too little or (b) not enough.
Self-reflection can be useful, but I'm not a big advocate of wallowing in the past. Too often the past is like quicksand, it can trap us in its grip and pull us down. We don't push ahead, we don't forge new paths because we look at what we've done and lose heart.
"I wasn't able to accomplish anything last year, so why should I try this year?"
But maybe that's because we're too busy looking at the negatives. When was the last time you sat down and looked at the good things in your life? Not just the things that have happened to you, like surprise birthday parties and job promotions, but the things you've done for others? Buying that homeless guy a dinner or stopping to ask that lady burdened with bags if she needed help?
Those were good things, nice things, but we never seem to remember them.
If you're going to take inventory, make it a complete inventory. Don't gloss over the little things because, let's be honest, most of life is made up of little things. Seconds and moments where we decide whether or not to hold the door open for the person behind us.
New Year's Eve is coming. Whether it happens that night, before it, or after it, we'll all take a look at ourselves and what's happened this past year.
Just remember, ladies and gentlemen, to look at everything when you do.
Maybe you'll realize this past year has been better than you realized.
So, what comes next?
A happy New Year.