Hours have turned to days, weeks to months, and seemingly in an instant, we have reached the end of another year. In a blink of an eye, a decade is done, and another one has begun.
I tend to be sappy and sentimental anyway, but I find I’m even more so at this time of the year. As we stand at the end of an old year and the beginning of a new decade, many of us naturally reflect on what has passed and what is yet to come. We reflect on our lives and ask ourselves if we are happy.
We question if our life is going in the direction we wish. We re-examine our priorities and set new goals. For many, 2019 was a difficult year. A year touched by sadness and loss, but also one of new beginnings and hope.
This past year seemed particularly challenging. Natural disasters, mass shootings, terrorism, fires, political upheaval—all these events weighed heavily on our collective psyche. And so many of us were also dealing with our own personal issues and difficulties.
Though surface appearances on social media like Facebook and Instagram paint happy pictures of perfection, most of us are leading far from perfect lives. Death, divorce, deployments, career change, cancer, illness, mental health issues, addiction, parenting issues, financial concerns, the list goes on.
Every single day, someone we know is dealing with something. And sometimes that someone is us. When it is us, it’s hard to see anything but the heaviness of what we are facing. It is so easy to take it all for granted; our health, our people, our time. We are all guilty of that. But life is so very fragile. And all too often fleeting. When we look back on a year in which something difficult has happened, that tends to be all we see.
Tragedy. Loss. Sadness. A vast void where someone we love once lived. Broken dreams. Mistakes and failures. Opportunities lost. It’s so easy to get caught up in what we don’t have; we fail to see what we do have. And we don’t see that we made it through it. We become so focused on the sadness that we can’t see anything else. But the good is there. It was there all year. It’s always been there, if only we take the time to stop and see it.
In truth, there is always something to be grateful for. This may sound trite to some, but it really is true. Some days it’s as simple as the sun shining on your face on a cold winter’s day, or rain washing away your tears.
- A hot cup of coffee shared with a friend.
- A much-needed hug.
- Roses still blooming on a cold October day.
- The scent of salt lingering on an ocean breeze or wood smoke curling towards the autumn sky.
- The sweat on your forehead and burn in your lungs as you finish a run.
- Sometimes it’s something profound and meaningful— a mended relationship, your health, your family.
- Sometimes it’s the words you took the time to say:
- I love you.
- I miss you.
- I’m sorry.
Every single day there is something to be grateful for, including that day. Each day is a gift. Yes, even the agonizing ones. There are so many people who won’t get the gift of another day, another year. They will never again feel sadness or happiness, joy, or pain.
They will never get the chance to make it right. To try again. To love again. But we have that chance. We have this day. And if we are one of the lucky ones, we will have tomorrow and the next day and the day after that. And eventually, those days will become another year. As you begin another new year and a new decade, may you look back on 2019 forgivingly and gratefully.
- May you see the person you lost, not the hole in their stead.
- May you see hope for the future, not broken dreams.
- May you see the lessons you learned, not the mistakes you made.
- May you see the wisdom you gained, not opportunities lost.
- And as you look ahead to 2020, may you do so hopefully and gratefully.
- This year, may you let go of past hurts, and bitterness, and resentment, and may you move forward, inch by inch, with optimism and purpose.
- May you be brave enough to take chances and make mistakes, because life is far too short to live with regrets.
- May you celebrate your successes and your failures, because even if you fail, you know you tried. And if you do fail, pick yourself up and try again. Never stop trying. Because when you stop trying, you stop living.
- May you never forget there is always something to be grateful for. And may you make the time this year to see it.
This year, may you have enough courage to trust love again, one more time. Don’t close your heart and your life off to love, because a life without love is like a book without words or a year with no summer. And may you always believe in yourself. Grab hold of the pen and write the story of you, for you. Don’t write the story others want to read. Write the story you want to read.
This year, may you make the most out of every single day, even the boring, ordinary ones. Don’t get so busy that you forget to make time for those you love and for yourself. Take time just to stop and be. Don’t wait until tomorrow. Tomorrow is never guaranteed. Time is a precious commodity you will never get back. You have a great opportunity before you, in this new year. This year is yours. I hope you use it well.