Happy new year, dear readers!
Another year has come and gone. Today we all start a fresh calendar full of possibilities. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day make for tidy bookends to the year, don’t they? Unlike celebrating our personal new years–our birthdays–the new yearly calendar we enjoy collectively has an energy to it that infects us all.
There’s simply something about that clean, fresh calendar ahead. The potential for opportunity seems bigger. Our hopes surge for what the year may bring. We put the disappointments and challenges of the previous year behind us and move forward. The truth is, though, that every day on the calendar represents the same opportunity for hope and progress. We all know it but the clean slate intoxicates us. The new year makes it easier to compartmentalize our experiences.
Within the bookends of the year are the stories—the books themselves—filled with chapters, pages, and words. As we consider the obvious first and last today, I’ve been thinking about all of the firsts and lasts that litter those pages like little bookmarks. Because a year is filled with them, isn’t it? Firsts and lasts of all kinds–intimately intertwined yet quite different beasts.
The funny thing about firsts is that they’re more obvious than lasts. It’s much easier to notice a “first” of something. Firsts are exciting! We celebrate firsts with joy and anticipation. Our little neurons and dendrites light up with stimulation as our brains process a new experience.
Lasts are a bit different. They are often wrapped in more somber emotions–nostalgia, melancholy, sadness, or relief. Those emotions are amplified when they are unexpected and have to be processed from hindsight. There’s extra mourning when we didn’t didn’t realize that something in our lives was a “last.”
There are exceptions to all this, of course, but largely we deal with firsts and lasts in very different ways. They are intimately connected yet they are quite different experiences. That’s where we reconcile lasts and endings. Because we all know that “firsts” often can’t manifest themselves without a “last” preceding it. That’s where change and progress lie in waiting—in those transitions. That’s where we grow.
Happy New Year
As I dig into 2019, I’m reminding myself that every day is filled with micro-sized firsts and lasts where that growth can thrive—from the first time I open my eyes that morning to the last time I close them for the night. I’ll be channeling the ancient wisdom of Heraclitus as I go about my days and moments that only seem less noteworthy than the flamboyant bookends of the year.
No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.Heraclitus
With the arbitrariness of the calendar duly noted, I still embrace the chance to be a part of the positive collective energy we share on this day. So from the crew here at Val in Real Life HQ, we wish you the greatest depths of love, kindness, and peace as you fill your pages with firsts and lasts of all kinds in 2019.
Adventure on, friends!