Happy New Year.
That’s the last time that I will say or write that phrase. There comes a point when you have to draw a line under the thoughts about moving into a new year. I do genuinely wish everyone a very happy 2023 but, and you don’t have to look too deeply into the headlines or what’s going on around us in our communities, to understand that for so many people 2023 will be an incredibly difficult year, for a whole host of reasons.
I guess that all we can do at this time of year is to control what we can control, manage what we can manage and, with a fair wind, we’ll have a decent chance of managing those external factors, which can work against us. Hopefully with this approach we’ll have at least some capacity, be that emotionally, psychological, or quite literally physically, to face those challenges down.
Maybe it’s because I’m getting that bit older but the idea of setting firm New Year’s resolutions becomes less and less attractive, year on year. I know that I’ve got things that I probably could do with tweaking (now that’s an understatement!) but there comes a time in life, at the moment in history, when one has to be realistic about what one can achieve and what privations one might put up with at the start of a new year. It’s no coincidence that people feel that January is the ‘bluest’ of months.
I have a couple of things that I will be thinking about over the next few months, to keep myself on the straight and narrow. Firstly, I want to stay active. The active body, active mind kind of thinking. That will mean, no doubt, continuing to run but also it might mean trying some new things, getting out there and interacting with friends a little more frequently.
I want to continue to eat well. And eating well at this time in our history is a good thing for many reasons. Not only will I feel that little bit better but eating well often means cooking food from scratch, buying local ingredients and in season products and, as a consequence, being a little bit greener and eco-friendly.
Ideally, I would also want to remember to be compassionate. Not a wishy-washy, unspecified, ambiguous feeling but a real compassion for the community in which I live and serve, the people who I spend time with – in work and away from work. For me compassion is about unity, strength, connectivity and action. In our professional lives we can forget, on occasions, how powerful compassion can be when we’re dealing with children and young people, when we’re working with our colleagues or when we’re communicating with our families. Being compassionate can bring one closer to being kind. Being kind to others has been lost over the past few traumatic years. At this time in our history, a little bit of kindness, something as simple as a smile and a nod each and every day, will make an enormous difference to the lives of the people around us. And if we get all that right we might just have to have a chance of enjoying 2023.
‘Great teachers emanate out of knowledge, passion and compassion.’ A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
‘May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions!’ Joey Adams
So, despite not making any resolutions, I will resolve to think carefully about what 2023 might bring, how I can do the best for myself and for those around me and, with a little bit of luck, as 2023 passes, it starts to feel so much better looking forward than we might have felt as 2022 passed. It’s the first weekend of the half term, after a four-day week, so hopefully you’ll have energy to get out and do something positive this weekend.