As the year begins to draw to a close I notice it has started already. The familiar refrain of ‘Oh I’ll be glad to see the back of this year’. It is a statement that, as an eternal optimist, always concerns me. Life is a series of challenges and opportunities. Sometimes we have a degree of control and we can effortlessly steer ourselves in the direction we choose. At other times, we are as helpless as a paper boat on a stormy sea. Buffeted back and forth and everywhere we look is grey and miserable.
But even the most difficult times in our lives present a unique and valuable set of lessons for us. What matters is how we deal with the challenge, and how we come out the other side. I know from the people I speak to that we often don’t give ourselves credit for the good things we achieve. People are often more willing to recall and visualise the traumatic times in life. They selectively forget the little things that make us happy. The simple thank you from a colleague we helped with their workload; the look on a child’s face when they manage to remain upright on a bicycle without stabilisers; the hug from a loved one that comes at just the right time.
Our achievements, and the way our lives dovetail with others and improve them, are something to be celebrated. Admittedly, at times the going is tough and the future may appear bleak, but chances are this isn’t the first time you have felt this way. The sun will continue to rise and fall and your perception is the only thing stopping you enjoying every day that comes along.
If you were to be handed a cheque for a million pounds you would feel instantly happy. Realistically, it would mean major changes in your life and most likely for the better. But in the instant of taking the cheque, nothing has actually changed other than your mood. You control how you feel and you can tell yourself that the issues you are dealing with are for the good. That you will grow as a person and you will learn something new.
So, if you have found the year hard going it is time for a rethink. Every day is the start of a New Year. If you have resolutions, make them frequently. If you want to make changes remember you have far more control over your life than you could imagine. Every day is a wealth of opportunity and discovery. If you have what you would consider a bad day, shrug it off, smile and move on. If you can master that approach, and make even the tiniest positive contribution to improving the lives of those around you, your reward will be incredible.
Whatever your faith, I wish you the very best today, tomorrow and always.