The words to pause and consider are …What it was, what it is and what it yet may be.
The media tend to spend a lot of time at this time of the year looking back on what was and pundits are called upon to look ahead and make predictions (which, of course are reviewed at the end of the next year to see which came true).
What it was – It’s not a bad idea in our own lives to pause and look back at what was, realizing that all of those things (both good and bad) are in the past. The value in looking back is to try to learn from those things and, hopefully, be able to do less of the bad things and more of the good into the future. This is something that should not be dwelled upon for too long.
What it is – Pausing to look at where you are at today gives you the foundation for making changes. Taking the time to do an honest assessment of your current situation will allow you to plan properly for the prospects that you see (or desire) in the future. The key is to be realistic with yourself. Don’t BS yourself if you hope to plan to get ahead. Sometimes it is valuable to get some honest third party input on this topic. You may need that to honestly answer the question, “Am I as good as I think I am?” More on why that is important below.
What it yet may be– This is the most important thing to think about and should be is a combination of your hopes, dreams and aspirations. More importantly these should be the things that help you set your goals. Being realistic about your goals in life is important, too. I have read many stories about very successful people who were able to set high, but realistic goals, once they let a dose of reality into their planning. It’s great to have a dream of being a major sports star or perhaps a Rock Star; but, if you’re only a mediocre athlete or an average singer in a small garage band it may be time to get real. If you love the industry and want to remain a part of it, perhaps you can focus on being one of the successful industry players around the periphery – sports or music agent or producer or perhaps a stage hand or umpiring official. Many people who take those routes end up quite successful and still get to hang around with the sports or entertainment performers that they love. An important point here is that taking this route may be better for you than abandoning your dreams altogether and looking back later with a bad case of the coulda, woudlda, shoulda’s.
Where do you go from here?
For some the year may have ended in a failed marriage. I hit that a lot in my real estate business. This process of reflection, assessment and planning provides the opportunity to clean the slate and start fresh, perhaps with a new relationship in your future. A clean slate in those cases doesn’t just mean trying to wipe away the memories of the ex-partner. It also means trying to see and understand the roles that BOTH parties may have had in the failure of the marriage. Once you can see the things that perhaps you did or could have done differently in the partnership to make it work, you are on your way towards maybe having a successful second chance – one that works this time. Trying to go forward with the chip on your shoulder that the fault was all the other person’s is a sure receipt for repeating the disaster. That person is gone. Focus upon fixing the person that you still have with you.
For some, perhaps the year ended in loneliness because of the loss of a life partner. There is no reason that you cannot find happiness and companionship again with another person. There are societies in which a widow is expected to live alone for the rest of their life; ours is not one of them. Any partner with whom you were happy would want you to continue to be happy and that means having the companionship of someone new. Appreciate what you had in the past, but move on with life. You needn’t fear having to go back into the dating game. You might be surprised how the “game” has changed, especially if you are a bit older. Maturity does a wonderful job of refocusing people away from the superficial things that seem so important to the young and onto the things that actually provide the foundation for lasting relationships – personality, humor, interests, etc. Modern technologies and social media have also made it much easier to find a new partner.
For most of us the challenges of life as we start a new year aren’t quite as big or dramatic; so, for us this time reflection, assessment and planning is a chance or renewals or mid-course corrections. Maybe we just need to renew and revitalize our goals, perhaps taking this opportunity to reprioritize some of the plans that we’ve been executing upon. For some, maybe it is time for a mid-course correction. You’ve been working towards your goals for some time and now you’ve looked up and assessed. Are those goals still valid? Is that what you really want to achieve; or, do you now see that this either the wrong destination or just a stop on the journey towards where you really want to end up? Either way, it’s good to find that out, so that you can make course corrections. Maybe you got a degree in one thing and now realize that you don’t want to pursue that field as a career. Your degree is still worth something and maybe you can apply some of what you learned in a different field. Maybe it will just provide the base from which you can get further education in the field that you now see for yourself. The important thing is to realize that you need to change courses and go for it.
So, take time as you pause to begin a new year and look back on “What it was”, take a good look at ”What it is” and then spend some time contemplating “What it yet may be.” The past is written in the books; you are living in the present; but, the future is yours to shape. Have a great year ahead – it is yet to be.