At the end of the year, it can be useful to reflect for a while on what has gone by; we can learn from it and plan for a better way to handle the same kind of problems the next time they arise. If, however, we spend too much time reflecting, we run the risk of being accused of “living in the past.” Conversely, if we are spending too much time planning for tomorrow and what will happen on a day or year that is not yet here, it is, to some extent, a waste of valuable time because it is unlikely that events will ever unfold as we predict.
I knew someone very closely once who would spend a great deal of time planning for what was to be. What was going to happen years ahead was figured out and plotted and rearranged in her mind, to fit a “Master Plan” that her children and those close to her were to follow. Life was thought through and pre-arranged. Goals were set. Children’s futures were mapped out. Family trips were postponed so that the Plan would work. Fun events were put off because they did not leave enough room for something else that was scheduled into the “Master Plan.” And then she died.
Of course the opposite is quite true as well. We likely all know people who fail to plan at all, and just let life happen haphazardly. These people miss opportunities; fantastic chances seem to slip through their fingers. We wonder sometimes about “what might have been” for this person or that person, had they just worked at planning a little better.
Balance in all things in life is so important.
Being present, planning appropriately, and reflecting responsibly are all crucial to life. Take some time in the days ahead to reflect on thoughts from last New Year’s Day. Think about the goals and reflections that meant something to you then, and ponder where you are today. Compare the aspirations you’ve had in past years; check on yourself to see what you’ve achieved, and look for the “fantastic chances” that lie ahead. There are opportunities for everyone to help another person, be supportive of one in need, or offer a word of encouragement. As you are reaching out to help others, also look around at your life today and reflect on those with whom you interact on a regular basis. Realize that life can be fleeting. Learn, plan, and be present; you’ve made a difference and you can continue to impact lives even more.
Have a very blessed New Year!