And a happy New Year to you too!
We have flipped the calendar page—2016 is part of history.
How exciting to stand on the threshold of yet another year, 2017! Well-rested, healthy, happy, our finances in order, with our New Year’s resolutions all written down and under our belt. In one word: we’re ready! We are pumped, all psyched up and ready to roll.
Many of us will scoff—yeah, in your dreams.
Listen, Pall, you live in a castle in the sky. Life is complicated, it’s called REALITY. Life is hard and it often sucks.
Many think of tomorrow and the weeks beyond with trepidation, with fear even.
They’re uncertain if they’ll still have a job. Their finances are screwed—they might lose their house, get evicted, unable to pay the rent. Their relationships have bombed—they’re waiting for papers from their spouse’s lawyers. Others had a fall-out with parents or siblings or children—they are no longer on speaking terms. Bitter even.
Some are scraping courage together for their next chemo treatment, second or third week of January. There’s this invasive operation (surgery) looming. Their manuscript got rejected by eighteen more literary agents in 2016. Others still, toil day after day, month after month, year after year, honing their writing craft, venturing on the indie-publishing route, concerned about what 2017 will bring.
In one word, they’re scared. With reason.
And you dare say, happy New Year?
Oh, and stuff the resolutions as well!
How can we change this? If the above is true of our given prospects for 2017, how can we get (alive) through the year?
Do we need more willpower?
Do we need to read another self-help book? Attend another conference?
Do we need to read at least ten more articles, perhaps twenty more posts titled, ‘50 easy tips to keep ALL your New Year’s resolutions?’
Perhaps it’s time to face the truth.
What is truth? We live in a society where truth has been tainted, distorted, blemished and twisted.
The truth will set you free. This saying is often quoted in academic circles. What does it mean? This well-known expression originated from John 8:32. “Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
Free to do what we like without giving a damn? No. (Freedom without limits and tied-in responsibilities, remains slavery.)
Perhaps it’s time to apply truth in our own personal lives. The proverbial light at the end of the tunnel may appear—it won’t make all our problems disappear, but will give us perspective, give us courage, and above all—give us hope.
Do we hear the truth on the daily news and TV or only versions of it?
Do we read the truth in newspapers?
Do politicians speak the truth?
They often don’t. Why is that?
How do people, nations, live and function when they’re often lied to by their governments? Over the decades—centuries even, by consecutive governments. By governments who claim to look after the interest of the people, while in reality, it enriches a small proportion of those in power and a selected few of the population (usually less than 1%.) Pick almost any country or government on earth. Do your research and you’ll find the same—whether capitalistic, “democratically elected,” monarchic, or communistic—vast contempt for its citizens. On the surface it is kumbaya, but behind the scenes—enrichment and empowerment of a minuscule minority, not linked to nationality, creed, race or religion.)
Why is this? Our societies have been numbed, been lulled into silence, into indifference, as we lose our ability to care and opt to live without compassion for our fellow men.
What remains of us when we lose our compassion?
The truth is often hard to face.
Especially when it hurts or means we have to change. Gloria Steinem, well-known American feminist, had her own version of this expression, “the truth will set you free, but first, it will piss you off.” (A milder version says, … but first it will make you miserable.)
Where does this leave us with our often failed attempts to keep our resolutions, to change, knowing less than 10% of us will keep them?
Why bother even?
My version of New Year’s resolutions for 2017 is the following:
Pick only two things you want to achieve this year.
Yes. It’s a modest aim. One for each half of the year. Here’s what you can do. If you achieve it sooner, start with # 2. (It’s called the power of small wins.) The day you achieve that, tackle a new one, say # 3. Who knows—you may just achieve more this way!
And a happy New Year to you too!
It is my hope that you will have more joy this year. That you will not only survive your surgery or chemo but thrive. That you will find a better job. That you will reconcile. That you will achieve your dream of getting published (professionally.) Remember, set yourself up to succeed.
Whatever your circumstances—may you discover and learn the power of truth, the power of having compassion, of granting forgiveness for those who wrong you, and, in the process, find joy.
Have a blessed 2017!
(Thank you to my loyal readers of the past year. It’s been a wonderful adventure writing this blog, and now also the books—your feedback has been so valuable!)