What Will It Be?

The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.  —G.K. Chesterton

I t’s 5:41am on New Year’s Eve. The house is quiet and it is dark outside. I awoke this morning with a number of thoughts on my mind and the sense of inevitability that always accompanies a new year. Time will march on today, and tomorrow a new calendar begins.

And there it is, the word “begins.” When you consider it, “begins” is a simple word laden with complex implications and expectations. To begin is to start: it suggests something new, something not yet done. We tend to wrestle with endings but we usually embrace beginnings. From what I’ve been hearing and reading, moving from 2016 to 2017 will be no different.

Rolling out of bed today, one question kept racing through my head: what will it be? A new beginning lays before us. I’m not talking about a political, social, or organizational beginning – I’ll let the pundits speculate and argue about what is ahead for us in those categories.

We can choose to distract ourselves with the broad, macro level movements, trends, hopes, and fears of the greater world or we can focus on the six inches in front of our face.

The real question is: what will 2017 be for us as individuals? We can choose to distract ourselves with the broad, macro level movements, trends, hopes, and fears of the greater world or we can focus on the six inches in front of our face. The scary, intimidating, soul-wrenching six inches that we can actually impact.

So, what will it be?

  • Will it be a year of health and wellness or one of excuses?
  • Will it be a year of uninspired effort or one of initiative and hope?
  • Will it be a year of hiding behind addictions or one of confronting our demons?
  • Will it be a year of seizing the day(s) or one of floating along on a paddle-less boat?
  • Will it be a year of kindness or one of criticism?
  • Will it be a year of moving forward or one of falling behind?
  • Will it be a year of self-improvement or one of self-indifference?
  • Will it be a year of accountability or one of blame?
  • Will it be a year of possibility or one of impossibility?
  • Will it be a year of dreams or one of nightmares?
  • Will it be a year of helplessness or one of resolve?
  • Will it be a year of grit or one of floundering?
  • Will it be a year of prosperity or one of struggle?
  • Will it be a year of love or a year of hate?
  • Will it be a year of making a difference or one of not really mattering?

It is easy to lose ourselves in the machinations of the greater universe. It is easy to become frustrated, hopeless, and angry with what everyone else is doing or not doing. We focus on countries fighting, terrorists terrorizing, politicians lying, and people doing all sorts of things over which we have no control. As maddening as these things may be, the real challenge we face is what we choose to do in our own life. What good we choose to bring to this crazy world and how we choose to live within it.

We give ourselves permission to relinquish responsibility for something when we have absolutely no control over it – it is effortless. The hard work happens at home, in those dark, quiet moments when the noise of the outside world is nowhere to be heard. When the only voice is the one inside our head and the only choices are ones we can make. Resolution? Yes, this is where it begins. There is that word again: begin.

The hard work happens at home, in those dark, quiet moments when the noise of the outside world is nowhere to be heard.

As you walk through today and start into tomorrow, consider your own life and the lives of those in your immediate world. Then ask yourself: what will 2017 be for me? Then resolve to be better; for yourself and for those you love. Take a step into the frightening six inches where you own it and determine to make it a year worth remembering. We’re all counting on you.

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