A new year arrives tomorrow. It is that time of the year when we accidently write “2022” and then have to figure out how to make the “2” into a “3” so it is correct. Old habits die hard. It will take a while, but we’ll all eventually get there.
There are many who didn’t make it to the end of 2022. The newspapers and magazines’ year end editions are full of tributes to those who passed away during this past year. Some of us around today won’t see it to the end of 2023.
There are a lot of things we do not have in common. But one thing we do have in common is that we have one less year to live than we did last year at this time.
So as we launch into another trip around the sun, what does this new year mean to you? As you read this, the year ahead is an empty tablet. It is a story yet to be written. It is YOUR story that is yet to be written. And it can have many story lines.
Just for the fun of it, why not sit down and write your 2023 Christmas card letter today? What would it say? How would it be different written the first week of January at the front end of the year instead of after you have lived the year?
Each day in 2023 we will get up, make decisions, live our lives, and then close our eyes and fall asleep. A year from now, it will be too late to change anything we do or that happens to us in the year ahead. Much of our experience in the year ahead will depend on the attitude we choose to carry.
Ghandi’s philosophy was, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” I would modify the second part of his quote to say “Grow as if you were to live forever.” But maybe learning and growing are the same. The core concept is to get the most out of every day as it can only be lived once, but equip yourself better each day for the future days ahead.
Joan Baez has her own spin on how we should live. “You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die. Or when. You can only decide how you’re going to live. Now.” John Lennon shared, “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.” Regardless of your view of the world, life will happen in 2023.
Don’t let the past rob you of what you need to be accomplishing in 2023. Charles Kettering said, “You can’t have a better tomorrow if you are thinking about yesterday all the time.” We need to throw away the rear view mirror. And sometimes it is our anxiousness about the future that robs us of what needs to be done today.
We need to live in the present. Today provides the best opportunity we have to make a difference. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” What is inside you? Because what you are on the inside will manifest itself on your outside.
In the year ahead, we need to make sure we are not just spinning our wheels or getting bogged down in trivial things. Oscar Wilde shared, “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” Woodrow Wilson said, “We are not here merely to make a living. We are here to enrich the world.” And Will Rogers tells us the importance of living in the present. “Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.”
Then there are those who sit around and waste the days they have been given. Some people have the philosophy I saw on a sign once, “Don’t look, you might see. Don’t touch, you might feel. Don’t walk, you might fall. Don’t try, you might fail. Don’t breathe, you might live!”
Much of what we need to be accomplishing in 2023 will not occur because of fear of failure. I don’t want any of us to wake up a year from now and play the “what if?” game. What if I had put my name in for that position...what if I had taken time to go visit her...what if I had not borrowed that money...what if...?
We need to expect failures in 2023, and hopefully many of them. If you make it through next year without failing, you will miss many chances to be a success. Nelson Mandela addressed this issue when he said, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” Theodore Roosevelt used this same concept applying it to mistakes when he said, “The only man who makes no mistakes is the man who never does anything.”
But I like Michael Jordan’s statement on failure the best. “I can accept failure, everyone fails sometime. I can’t accept not trying.”
My challenge to you today is to make 2023 the best year of your life. Live each day to the fullest. Don’t get slowed down by your past or over anxious about your future. Live the only day you can live...today!
Make sure you grow and that you end this year a different and better person than you are today. Take some risks and don’t be afraid of failure. If each of us acted as if it were impossible to fail, what could we accomplish in 2023 both individually and collectively?
Do something that adds value to another or to others each day. We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. Just in case 2023 is your last trip around the sun, invest in others so you can leave a legacy behind when your days are done...because we are each just passing through.
I pray in the year ahead you are richly blessed and that 2023 will become the best year of your life.
Just some New Year’s thoughts...
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