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Time for Action and Contemplation

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“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.”

― (Little Gidding)T.S. Eliot

A “crazy” man dashed in front of the car, stopped, faced us, and with legs astride and with a Māori Haka like stance, shook a bottle clad hand, poked his tongue out and then dashed off to the sidewalk. It was my very first New Year’s Eve memory. We just turned into the main street of The Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. I was thirteen years old.

My parents have never been big on New Year’s Eve, so thanks to an uncle, I got to find out what it was all about. Still, to this day, I find New Year a bit of a letdown. It never entirely measures up to expectations.

As a young teen, I remember feeling some weight of expectation as we wandered around Surfers Paradise, waiting for the clock to count down to midnight.  There seemed to be many people doing just that — filling in time until the big event. As the clock struck midnight and fireworks and car horns filled the air, there was the singing of “Auld Lang Syne” on the foreshore and a little bit of snogging (For those who don’t know, Snogging is described as a little bit of kissing and cuddling amorously.) That activity was something I hoped would happen a lot more in the future.

But I didn’t feel any different. The world didn’t suddenly change. Pain or suffering youth didn’t go away — it was still there.

So, what was the point?

Now I’m not opposed to a good party. I have run some sizable New Year’s events with some friends over the years. For five years running, I helped a friend run some parties that would run for up to three days. We would hire a venue in the country, bring in our own chiefs, put on fancy-dress nights, talent quests and trivia shows. It was a lot of fun.

But in the end, it is just a party. Good to do — but is there some more value we can add to this time of year?

As I write, Christmas and the New Year periods are not that far away — they tend to sneak up on us — then there is the rush to make it all happen.

As I got older, I found real value in the time between Christmas and New Year. A quieter time when we can contemplate the year gone and the possibilities for the year ahead.

More than likely, twelve months ago, you were thinking about your year and what plans you would like to put in place. 2020 and 2021 have taught us that a large part of our lives lies outside our direct control. Yet we still had 12 months, 365 days of living to do something with — even if it was not quite what we expected.

For some, the last two years was an annus horribilis with more to come — others not so much — and still others, for their business at least, it was an absolute winner. I know of a local butcher whose business is 70% up on the previous years.

After Christmas and early January, the following period will be filled with ideas for new year’s resolutions and setting goals, etc. Often it comes a little too late as the year seems to get underway quickly, and all too often, we find ourselves in February with no idea how the year ahead will work out. And all too often, those half-baked new year’s resolutions fall by the wayside. I wrote such an article Goals, New Year & The Rest of Your Life.

But perhaps waiting until January is just leaving it all a little too late. So maybe start thinking early to set some time in that part of the year aside to reflect and to plan may be an excellent place to start. The mere fact that is setting that time aside now will allow your mind to start thinking and planning for next year and beyond without you knowing you’re doing it.

So, what I’m going to suggest as something to contemplate — to focus on the things that you have control over and forget about the rest. Focus on the mind we can control — our own.

Decide to put energy into becoming the person that successful things happen to – not try to achieve success by forcing it and hopefully be happy as a result. By taking that approach i.e. forcing success you will find that other people decide what is a successful life. The closer you get to being the person that lies inside of you, the happier you will be.

Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.

— Carl Jung

The clock is ticking…the world is not waiting!

Till Next Time — Something to Think About…

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Written By Owen Thomas

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