It’s relentless, this march of time. As quickly as 2013 came and went, 2014 came more quickly and seems to be moving even faster, this month careening into the next without even a breath. Or is it just me?
As bendable as time seems, and most likely is, the velocity of movement is striking even to one such as myself who enjoys change. And I know that not everyone enjoys the prospect of change as much as I do and yet, are we not consistently called to engage in it, especially as a new year, with its promise and portent, arrives?
So what is it about change that confounds us and can knock us off our game (or out of the ballpark!)? Is it its demand for adaptation or its push for us to grieve what was? Is it our fear of the unknown or our resistance to progress?
We humans are a crazy beautiful contradiction. Given our capacity to evolve over time, our ability to create out of nothing things of value and our deep cache of memories – personal and cultural – we are rather like fluid encyclopedias assessing our choices and chances and striking some things in order to make room for others. We are both complete and incomplete, always.
When taking inventory, our assessment of what is now evokes a recalibration of our values and commitments. With the prospect of change, we have an opportunity to explore what we may be, how we might use our life differently than ever before.
We may be guided by the same principles instilled in us as children or find new north stars and touchstones to mark our way. Our personal journeys continue to alternately challenge and comfort us as we take stock and commit to a new trajectory or recommit to the favorable one we are on.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote that our “values become our destiny“.
As calendar pages fly by, a great way to get clear about the new year and what’s in store for us is to remember or redefine what it is we value and hence discover what our destiny may be. Through our conscious attention to what’s important and making room in our lives for what pleases us, we begin to act in ways that fulfill us. We then make a habit of being pleased and fulfilled, and our habits, reflecting our values, lead us to our destiny.
We are not made to be distressed or at odds with ourselves, regardless of what media or modern culture suggests. We are not Luddites nor are we Idealists, but rather pragmatic optimists that believe we can infuse our life with that which is meaningful to us and hence, live a life that is meaningful to the world.
The common good demands our personal good, not our sacrifice of what’s important to us. So what is important to you? What do you value? Can you name 7 values that inform your choices and decisions? If not, spend some time in nature (or in the interior of your own nature) and ask yourself what it is you value.
If you are like me, you will be pleased to know that what you value is less about what you have and more about who you are.