Out With the Old, In With the New?

Is there really anything “new” about a “new” year? I mean besides the obvious changing of the 12 month guard from one year to the next. Society acts as if it is a “clean slate,” that life resets at midnight on January first. What is really “new” about it? I challenge those beliefs.

When I woke up this morning, it was a “new” day, as are all days. December first was a “new” month, as are all beginnings of a month. This is the last day of December. I have the same choices to make today as I had yesterday and every day before that. The choices of how I will spend my time, what I will eat, if I will exercise, learn something new, be a blessing to someone, be a productive member of society, be a solution not a problem, etc. etc. So what is so special about the choices we will make on January first or every day this year? Nothing-nothing is special. We have the same choices and opportunities 365 days of every year (unless it is a leap year when there are 366 days).

What I did this morning, I will do tomorrow morning as a rule. Each day I try to do better than the one before-be a better human being, eat better, take care of my physical self, learn something new, make someone laugh. I don’t just commit to this on January first. Resolutions-“A firm decision to do or not to do something.” (Google dictionary). Many people have their “New Year’s Resolutions,” but if they are not daily resolutions, there is no need to declare them on January first as there is nothing magical about that day. I read somewhere that only 8% of “New Years Resolutions” are kept. How they did that study, I don’t know.

A few years ago, Amy Grant along with David Foster and Linda Thompson, composed  a song called “My Grown Up Christmas List.” Amy was the artist that I remember most singing it. The chorus went like this:

No more lives torn apart

That wars would never start

And time would heal all hearts

And everyone would have a friend

And right would always win

And love would never end, no

This is my grown up Christmas list

And verses two and three state:

As children we believe

The grandest sight to see

Was something lovely wrapped beneath the tree

But Heaven only knows

That packages and bows

Can never heal a heart-ached human soul

What is this illusion called the innocence of youth

Maybe only in our blind belief can we

Ever find the truth

“This illusion called the innocence of youth.” As children, we believe concretely. We have no concept of abstract thought. For instance, I believed that every child had parents that smoked and that both parents worked. I had no concept of what other families were like. That’s why children are so honest. But as I grew up and got out into the world, I realized that things weren’t always that way. Let me try to explain further.

My parents operated in the only fashion that they knew of, but as I recall, they never went any farther than their ingrained beliefs. Meaning-they were content to stay as they were-kind of isolated, kind of sheltered. They did a lot of things wrong. They made a lot of bad decisions, especially where my brother is concerned. I didn’t see it clearly until I moved out and lived beyond the bubble. Some people NEVER live beyond the bubble. They are content, just as they are-never changing, never growing, no matter the consequences.

What does this have to do with New Year’s you ask? This-Every day of my life since moving away from that, I have had to make choices. I gleaned from the good things from my parents and learned to cultivate new. They weren’t evil people-I was never sexually molested, burned with cigarettes, or left hungry in a closet. I was cared for, fed, housed, and most of the time got to do what I wanted to do. A lot of kids perceive in their childishness that “not getting their way” is rejection. I’m thankful for every spanking I received. It may have hurt my feelings at the time, but I got over it! My parents weren’t rich by any means. My dad made payments on a flute so I could be in the marching band. I can still see him coming home with that flute. My dad was a caring man. My mother was/is a hard worker. I hope that I have carried those traits into my adult life.

Here’s the deal: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man (adult), I put the ways of childhood behind me.” -I Corinthians 13:11 (The Bible NIV version). I can look at their mistakes and learn from them (I have plenty of my own). I don’t keep referring back to what they may or may not have done to reference how my life is now. My life now is up to me. I have the choices to make every day. Did I feel rejected at times as a child? You bet! But I put those childish ways behind me. I didn’t keep using them to make people feel sorry for me. The past is the past.

Too many times, people give others the wrong impression of another person by slander. Yes, I said slander (The action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation). This is often times done to make the professing person look really GOOD and pitiful to others.  Just STOP IT! If someone keeps dredging (bring to people’s attention an unpleasant or embarrassing fact or incident that had been forgotten) up the past, they are no more or less than slanderers. Again-just STOP IT!

YOU are responsible for YOU (and for minor children). Your parents are not responsible, your past is not responsible. Yes, there are things that sometimes need to be worked through, but your parents’ divorce, your bullying at school, your past treatment by an ex are not excuses for your behavior as an adult. Work through it. Get help. Do whatever it takes to become the best version of you. When you keep bringing it up, you haven’t gotten over it (think how many wars may never start if people would just do this one thing).

New Years. Every day is a new beginning in the new year. Resolute every day to stop blaming other people for your misfortune, your money woes, your health. YOU are in control!  This is MY grown up New Year’s list-for myself, for others. untitled (89)

May God’s blessing follow you ALL the days of your life!

Thank you and good day!