December 31, 2003
I have a little New Year’s ritual that I have kept ever since I was a teenager. Every December 31st, at some time during the day, I sit down alone and take stock of the past year. What were the highlights? How well did I do with the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year? Where am I right now? I make a journal entry summing up the year, and my assessment of how it went. It somehow helps me to put life into perspective.
I couldn’t tell you what year it started, but I remember the occasion. One night close to New Year’s Eve, I was lying awake thinking. For whatever reason, I started remembering everything I could think of from the entire thirteen or fourteen years of my life. And then when I got up the next day, I was still in that mindset, so I sat down and wrote in my journal pages and pages of “I remember…” in no particular order. I just wanted to put them down on paper in case someday I forgot. Since then, every year I have done the same for the previous year, no exceptions. Not so much “I remember” as reprising the highlights to summarize the year. Most years I have come up with a “theme” that summed up the year. It is surprising how often when I would look back I could see that a year had a certain “theme” to it. I suppose it had to do with growing up and the normal stages of life a person goes through.
This hasn’t been a typical year, and I’ve already been analyzing it to exhaustion, but, since I did make Wyndspirit Dreams more personal this year and wrote quite a bit about the work situation, I feel like I ought to say something in summary.
What should I call this year? The Year Everything Changed? But I’ve had those years before. How about, The Year I Learned a Lot About Myself?
Yeah, that’ll do.
I have learned that I am truly happy and content when I am doing things that come easily and naturally to me. That doesn’t mean the things themselves are easy, but they use my natural abilities.
I have learned that just because something is easy for me it doesn’t mean it isn’t important and doesn’t matter. I have learned to substitute “natural” for “easy.”
I have learned that I am unhappy and uncomfortable doing things that don’t come naturally to me and that are outside my comfort zone, no matter how long I do them and no matter how good I am at them.
I have learned that I don’t have to feel guilty for being unhappy when I have to do something outside my comfort zone. I already know I can do anything I have to, but I’m finally coming to realize that I am under no obligation to enjoy it, no matter how many people remind me that there are worse things.
I have learned that happiness, like water, seeks its own level, so to speak. When I am forced into a job that does not use my abilities, I seek out opportunities to use them, to make the work bearable.
And, above all, I have come to one conclusion from this year, and, no matter what the new year brings, I hope it will stay with me:
I have certain God-given natural gifts. All my life, they have been subjugated to the necessities of the “real world,” trotted out only for my entertainment in my “spare time.” However… I am coming to realize that, if I have God-given gifts, then I also have a God-given right and duty to use those gifts, and He isn’t going to let me down for doing so!
Let’s hope I can remember that.
Happy New Year!