As we begin this New Year, it is wise to pause to evaluate last year's journey and ask such questions as: What has the old year taught us about ourselves and life? In what ways have we grown and where are our growing edges? What changes do we need to make in order to have fuller and more meaningful lives?
It is important to reflect upon last year so we do not spend all our time and energy oiling the "squeaking wheels" of life and missing what is really important.
Addressing this thought, former President Eisenhower was once quoted as saying, "The urgent is seldom important, and the important is seldom urgent." Too often life is controlled by the "tyranny of the urgent." We put aside higher and more worthy goals to put out fires.
In planning how we will write the pages of our lives, we would do well to remember this statement: "We don't want to come to the end of our life and realize that we have lived someone else's dream."
What will our legacy be? What is the purpose of our lives and how can we make a difference? How can we make the world better than when we found it?
In thinking about how we want to write the new chapter of our lives, it would be wise to read the answers of a survey of people over 95. They were asked, "If you could live your life over again, what would you do differently?"
The most frequent answers were:
1. I would reflect more (one of the most popular answers). We need to slow down and have more quiet time.
2. I would risk more. We need to challenge ourselves for life is about growing and maturing.
3. I would do more things that would live on after I'm dead. This reminds us that are not living just for ourselves. These are not the worst of times nor the best of times. This is our time and it is up to us to make it the best of times for those who follow us.
Dawson Trotman, the founder and first president of The Navigators, captured the problem most of us have when we begin: "The greatest time wasted is the time getting started."
So our challenge for the New Year is to reflect, learn, make new commitments and get started on them. The New Year begins a new chapter in our book of life. What will we write on the blank pages of this new chapter? Have a wonderful, healthy and prosperous New Year.
Dr. William E. Austin is a licensed psychotherapist and holds a Doctor of Divinity degree. He is a therapist with Tidewater Pastoral Counseling Services . He is well known for his warmth and sense of humor. His book, Creating Our Safe Place - Articles on Healthy Relationships, can be purchased through www.amazon.com.
Tidewater Pastoral Counseling: 623-2700