When I was a lot younger I made New Year resolutions. Sometimes I kept them. Sometimes I did not. Years ago I realized each year had a theme indicating where I am in my life journey. The theme is revealed in a title or line from a book I am reading or want to read. Other times the words or phrase describing the essence of my life come to me.
Towards the end of each year I reflect upon the past years discoveries and accomplishments. Reading through my journals, scratch paper/writing pad thoughts, musings and just plain scribbles, the motto for the next year sometimes reveals itself. Some years the theme has been slowly revealing itself throughout the year and bubbles to the surface at the right time.
For example, 1993 was my “Co-Dependent No More…” year, obviously, taken from Melody Beatty’s title for her bestselling book of the same name. A friend loaned me Co-dependent No More and Beyond Co-dependency in September 1992. I avoided reading them until January 1993. On New Year’s Day 1995, while shopping with friends at Water Tower Place on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, I found a Mary Engelbreit poster, “Don’t Look Back” and the message was perfect for 1995.
In 1996 I was completing my first year of graduate school and wondering if I had what it takes to finish the program, find a job and start the next phase of my life. My motto was “The Next Right Step Will Be Revealed…”.
I remember 1999 as the “Year of the Child”. My youngest daughter’s family moved to Wichita where we were living. The self- examining scrutiny to which I had been subjecting myself for six years was exhausting me. I spent the whole year embracing, enjoying and playing with my grandchildren in town and out of town. It was an exhilarating exhausting experience.
The next year, 2000, was the year of “Testing the Resting” and I read Anne Wilson Schaef’s Living In Process. There are still messages from her book resonating in my life. My favorite quotes are “We exist in context. “, “All I have to deal with and clean-up is my side of the street.”, “When we are present in the moment we bring the accumulated wealth of our past to that moment.” Thanks Dr. Schaef, I have great memories of my year with you.
The year 2005 was about “To Move or Not to Move….” This was the year of deciding to seek a job, in my profession, in a bigger market thereby increasing my salary and requiring relocation or change fields and stay in our smaller town in Kansas. I ended the year in the Chicago area with a challenging new job.
Living a simpler life was my goal for 2006. My companion for a year was Sarah Ban Breathnach’s Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy which gave me a look at who I was right then. My year with her and her book was very important to my ability to summon courage and fortitude for the next three years.
2007, 2008, 2009 were all variations of “I WILL SURVIVE,” Volumes I, II, III.
2010 was the year of Recovery and Rediscovery. After taking my employers early retirement offer, I have spent the past year living life one day at a time and developing the self-discipline to stay on my chosen tasks. I do not know which was harder – choosing the task or staying on the task.
“If Not Now, When…….” is my 2011 motto. I have a lot of things I want to do… eat healthier, find an exercise I am willing to follow to do regularly, write a book, make money doing what I enjoy most, save money, hire a maid … And if I do not start now when will I ever?
I will confess to making two resolutions for the New Year: I will find my Bluetooth and figure out how to connect it to my cell phone. And I will not text or respond to emails while driving. If it is that important, I will find a safe place to stop and then hit reply. Okay (big sigh) I feel safer already and those who are on the road with me will be safer too.
*Merriam-Webster’s definition of motto:
- A sentence, phrase, or word as appropriate to or indicative of its character or use
- A short expression of a guiding principle
Origin Italian from Late Latin muttum grunt, from Latin muttire to mutter
©2011 Susan Kendall. All rights reserved.