Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What Makes A Good Year?

It’s that time of year when I take long walks alone to contemplate the past year.  I guess you could say it’s my time to atone.  What a year it has been!

As I write this I’m wondering what makes a good year?  I’ve never asked myself that question before, but this time around seems different, and I contribute this to age and maturity.  What does make a good year?!  Most people would mention family and friends.  Not to sound dismissive because I cherish the many wonderful people in my life, and I do consider my friends my family, but it has to be more that – well, for me, anyway.

The measurement of a good year is how you preserved what keeps you safe, happy and strong – the love you give to yourself.  Self-love is vital to our well-being because it fortifies our self-esteem, giving us the confidence we need to move forward in the game of life.  It’s what makes us seek out others, which helps us to build the bond of friendship in a more meaningful way, and with that we are less likely to take it for granted.

I know many who lack self-love, and I often see these individuals as depressed, living a humdrum life.  Sadly, so many fall short of their dreams and desires, thus never living up to their potential, but I must digress here because I’m sure we’ve all had an isolated moment or two of hopelessness.  I have!  However, a reservoir of self-love will keep you safe.  It’s kept me secure, for many, many years.

I’ve had some peaks and valleys in 2013, but everything in the middle – beautiful.  I always nurture my hobbies and interests, and this year was no different.  I feel fortunate, dare I say, blessed.

The high points of my journey I live over and over in my mind and in my heart because they were that good, bringing me infinite joy.  As for the valleys – what can I say, there were days when I felt like I was crawling and begging for guidance, searching for answers that were not readily available, but through time and patience, and error, I did find what I was seeking, and I became stronger, wiser.

There were a few goodbyes because of illness, and I’m happy my friends didn’t suffer too long.  I had to let go of a friendship I still think about with each passing day and long for more often than not.  It presented with all the qualities I seek – patience, time and understanding, and strong communication.  Sadly, our patience ran thin, time ran out, understanding became an afterthought, and as for communication, I was the only one talking, fighting for what I believed in.  (With a declaration of love, no matter what happens, if there was ever a true friendship present, that’s where you’ll come back to for healing.  However, you can’t come back to a friendship if you’re manipulating, lying and being deceitful, and I guess that hurts the most.)

I didn’t experience the bittersweet until the end of this year, but it hasn’t eclipsed those special sweet memories I have, and the desire for a new day.  That’s how I treat the day – any day, with desire, purpose and possibility.  As for love, that’s my greatest asset, and every chance I get I love.

So, I’m asking myself that question one more time… Was it a good year?  Absolutely!  It was filled with so much love, and I’m thankful I can give and receive it without condition and with a whole heart.

I had written the following a few years ago, and it’s worth sharing here…

There are many reasons and ways to atone. There are rules and guidelines for doing both; many are dictated by our parent’s religious beliefs during childhood. I think it’s critical to remember these values as we advance in life, and imperative to explore them, as we get older. It definitely is necessary for me.

Religion is complicated and more confusing than ever. People abuse and manipulate ancient text to serve a purpose that all too often is greedy and ungodly (these are the true lost souls of the world). I’m not sure if I believe in God, but I do believe in something greater than myself. I believe in people when they do the right thing, and pray for those who are wrong because it’s even more important for them to atone.

I don’t know what’s right for you, but I do know what’s right for me. Everyday hence requires I be a bit more thankful than the day before, and a bit more vigilant in learning forgiveness – showing it towards my fellow man, and even more so to myself. There is grace to be found in both, and if I can make that statement, I hope you can too.


The photos in this post are from my Tuesday hike.  I used this time wisely to reflect on the past year.  I encourage you to do the same.  Take time to reflect, refresh and recharge.  The New Year is just around the corner.  I’ve always appreciated the following quote by Søren Kierkegaard, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”  So true!

Here’s to 2014.  I’m not sure what’s in store, but I’m going to remain optimistic because anything is possible.  Cheers! – paerki

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"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." - Susan B. Anthony

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