Editorial: Awe in the New Year

Modern humans have experienced about 200,000 “New Years.” For us, in our limited time on earth, experiencing about 100 is considered a milestone. This past Tuesday marked this change from one year to another, offering new hope and the possibility of renewal. Although the transition to the new year is merely another day passing by, we do not treat it as such.

In fact, most of us experience a moment of awe each year as time slows and we watch the “ball drop” or count down that last 60 sixty seconds of an entire year.

Awe actually alters the subjective experience of time, bringing people into the present moment, and being completely in the present moment literally adjusts our perception of time, influences decisions, and makes us feel happier.

It makes sense then that we use this moment of awe to lay out future goals and aspirations. In short, a new year truly does come with a renewed perspective and new opportunities.

January, named after the Latin word for door, acts as the gateway to the new year. With an entire year to look forward to, we focus on resolutions, plans to better ourselves as we walk through the door into the new year. Resolutions are critical, since self-examination is the key to personal growth. New Year’s Eve provides a time for reflection and a time to ask ourselves how should we might improve.

While our News Year’s resolutions will always be lofty in moments like this, it helps if we set them as realistic goals; a short, considered list that we should be able to accomplish. If our goals are too lofty, we never fully commit to their completion, since we suspect (know) that without a concrete plan, they are out of reach.

So, this year, let us come up with a set of specific goals to help us along the way to our lofty resolutions that are often doomed by their lack of specificity and embrace manageable items that we can check off our list on the way. Yes! Set that “be a better person” goal and then lay out specific steps on the journey for spiritual wellness and happiness.

Though improvement is never easy, and our goals for the new year will often be derailed by setbacks and challenges, we can handle the adversity. Maya Angelou said: “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

A self-reflective look will teach us what has set us back and what will move us forward. The turn of the year is the time to learn from all of our past experiences.

We walked past a moment that inspired such awe and it made most of us pause and really enjoy that moment, then we walked through the door that is January feeling ready to do something different and good.

New experiences that inspire that sense of awe, and give us hope and renewal, are everywhere. They do not exist only as we cross into the new year but they will be right in front of us over and over again in 2019 if we look and if we can be present in the moment.

Happy New Year everyone and good luck!

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