New Year is once again becoming one of my favourite times of year. It’s taken me a while to get there and now during my 40th year I think I’ve finally figured out where I lost the new year magic and feel like I have it back…
Growing up in Oz it meant a new school year with new challenges and usually a NYE party with friends and relatives and that was about all. There were resolutions of course, but these were pretty much confined to teenage concerns of boyfriends, friends and what I would do when I left school. They didn’t really mean much to me and were just a new year tradition, and I certainly didn’t worry if I didn’t achieve them.
But then things started to change. Magazines, TV programmes and even family and friends, seemed to take their resolutions more seriously and treat the whole year as a waste of time or big mistake if they failed to get a new boyfriend, didn’t stop smoking or lose those few pounds they promised themselves they would. I didn’t think it affected me but over the years it slowly weaved its way into my psyche too so that I also felt I’d failed if I didn’t achieve a goal I’d set myself in the hour or so before midnight on the 31st of December. I became increasingly cynical about life in general and my self confidence plummeted. OK, so there were other factors but this annual tradition of recounting failures was excruciating. Finally I decided that I would no longer have any resolutions – no resolutions, no way I could fail… It worked for a while but it felt like I also missed out on the wonderful things that the New Year represents.
Roll forwards another few years, a breakdown, recovery, two children (in that order) and a growing interest in self-help. I started to take responsibility for myself, for my own happiness, my own development and my own destiny. As I began to realise that my own thoughts created my reality I also began to realise that the important part of New Year was celebrating all of the wonderful things I AM and HAVE – things I have achieved, the people I have met, the places I have been, the feelings I have, the way my children make me proud every day, how much I have learned and how much I have laughed.
So I started a new tradition and it is quite simply to love myself. If that seems a bit simple, let me explain that my resolution is not the same as my goals and my aims. I still have personal goals and business goals but they just don’t have a new year time stamp on them. A big part of loving myself is my annual ‘memory jar’ tradition. It’s simple to do and the only supplies you need are a jar, some scraps of paper and something to write with. Now you just have to record anything and everything that makes your heart sing. Fill the jar and then on New Year’s Eve you can sit and open the jar and read all of the wonderful things you have been a part of during the year. My 2013 jar included notes about the day a truck driver blew me a kiss for letting him through in traffic, the fun I had speaking to Year 3&4 students about geology, completing my Crystal Therapy diploma, my eldest son achieving his Bronze Chief Scout award, my youngest achieving his 50 metre swimming badge and lots of the funny and sweet things my kids have said and done.
I finish each wonderful year reminding myself just how much I have done and start each new year with an empty jar just waiting to be filled with accomplishments and reminders of fun times. No more berating myself and feeling I have wasted another year and I end each year with a real sense of satisfaction that although life also throws things at me, I have come out on top. And the best bit is that my kids are now old enough to start their own memory jars too this year and have them waiting patiently on their bookcase ready for bits of colourful paper throughout the year. I can help them build their own self-esteem and wonder at the only New Year Resolution they will ever need…
Photo courtesy of http://www.steamykitchen.com/19992-memory-jar.html because it looks amazing! Pop over to see what sort of things to include in your jar for 2014.