I never used to like the beginning of a new school year or a new course. The first couple weeks are always spent becoming familiar with the format of the class, with the new materials, and with one another. I usually preferred being in the thick of things. At this point you knew what was expected, what to do, and had already developed your routine and habits. That’s not to say that I don’t like new things, because I do. But I also like the comfort and familiarity of an established routine.
Today, I find myself at many “new beginnings”. I’m at the beginning of a new job. I am at the beginning of a new relationship. I’m at the beginning of a new year. And honestly, I’m at the beginning of what I see as a new chapter in my life. These new beginnings are exciting, but I also find them to be a little unnerving. They are full of potential, but also of unknowns. They present opportunities, but also new challenges. And while I enjoy the novelty of these situations, sometimes I find myself wanting to fast forward just a little.
But the beginning of a new school year, a new class, or a new year also presents a unique opportunity. It’s an opportunity to start fresh. You are given a clean slate for the most part, what happens next is entirely up to you. You can chose to be dictated by past behaviors, both good or bad, or you can choose to present a new you. So you didn’t do as well as you had hoped last year, well now is your chance to start over, to be the person that you set out to be.
January 1st is not in the beginning of a school year or even a college course. It probably isn’t your first day of a new job or first day in a new location. In fact, it probably falls in the “middle” of a lot of things in your life. However, it does present an opportunity for reflection, revision, and resolution. As we get older, we get fewer clean slates. You may have already started to establish yourself in your career, in your relationships with others, and in your community. But even if your boss, your spouse, or your friend doesn’t give you a “clean slate” come January 1st, you still have the opportunity to give one to yourself.
What does a clean slate look like? Well for me, I begin with erasing everything from last year that I wish went differently or that I wish I could have done better. In the act of erasing, I forgive myself and others, releasing any guilt, self-doubt, and grudges that I may have. I erase the weeks of high blood sugars that I know are partially the result of my lack in self-management. I erase the petty arguments, the lost tempers, the gossip, and the tears. I erase the weeks that I was too lazy to workout, when I ate more than I know I should have. I erase the times I forgot to bolus or test my finger. I erase all the times when I let my life get out of control, for messes to pile up, for responsibilities to build. As I erase I vow to do better and be better in the coming year.
When I’m done erasing, I stare at that metaphorical blank slate with its infinite possibilities. What kind of person do I want to be in 2014? What do I want to accomplish? How do I want to be remembered and referred to by those who know me? What do I want to do to care for my health and for my future? I take these abstract questions and I set concrete goals for myself. I fill my slate with my goals and hopes for the following year. Maybe I’ll accomplish them, but maybe I won’t. But what is important to me, is taking the opportunity of a new year for personal reflection and making a resolution to myself to do and be my best in this coming year.
Happy New Year everyone! To new beginnings!