I love the week between Christmas and the new year. All the Christmas preparations are over. We have enough leftovers in the fridge that I don’t have to cook unless I feel like it. The garden (and its weeds) is blanketed with snow. Chores are at a minimum. It’s a time to relax and reflect, to take a deep breath, let it out slowly, and clear my head of all to-do lists.
The end of the year is traditionally a time for assessing the year and resolving to better. (Have you ever noticed that we never seem to be satisfied with just maintaining the status quo?)
I’m impressed by those friends who have five, ten, and even twenty-year plans for their lives. I’m not that clairvoyant. But I do like to compare the ending year with the goals I made last January, and then look ahead to what I might accomplish in the coming year.
When I look back over 2011, I realize that I actually did much of what I set out to do. Maybe that’s because I’ve learned to keep the list short and reasonable. Still—I did sell a photograph (actually several photographs). I did write four blog posts a week (two here and two on my other blog). I finally made exercise a regular part of my schedule (that’s a miracle right there). And while the diet was a flop, at least I don’t weigh more than I did twelve months ago.
I have some goals for 2012 too—I’ll even be brave and share a few. You can hold me accountable. I want to learn HTML, CSS, and other web programming skills so I can customize my own websites. (That’s a biggie, right there!) I want to develop my marketing skills so I can sell more photos and articles, and have more opportunities to present my gardening, birding, and photography programs. And, yes, a diet is on the list again, as always. At the least, it keeps me humble.
I like to finish off tasks that I’ve been avoiding. Balancing the checkbook comes immediately to mind. It’s sales tax time again, and we all know how I struggle to get that done every quarter. I also hope to clean out the pantry, at least enough to wash the floor in there. Ewwww!
Another practice of mine is to try and end the year with a clean slate. Do I need to apologize to anyone? Is there someone I need to forgive? I don’t want to carry grudges or hurt feelings into the new year.
What about stealth sins? As I wrote last week, sins tend to creep up on us when we’re not paying attention. I like to take some time and pray, asking God to open my eyes to actions and attitudes that are displeasing to Him. Psalm 139 is a good place to start:
“Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Come midnight and a new year, we’ll stand at our window and watch the fireworks the Adaman Club sets off from the top of Pikes Peak, share a kiss, and collapse into bed.
Happy New Year, everyone!
What are your year-end traditions?