Taking down the Christmas tree is generally something I do alone. I’ve always savoured the quiet of a snowy afternoon. I’ll have a cup of tea with an album or a podcast playing in the background. Wrapping the ornaments and placing them back in their boxes, winding the strings of lights up and sticking them in our stockings – the utility of saving and reusing is a refreshing antidote to the extravagance of the season.
Taking down the Christmas tree reveals a starker, simpler living room. After I sweep up the needles and move the furniture back into place it is as if a mini renovation has been completed. The clean lines of January beckon.
I used to refuse to consider New Year’s resolutions. Not because of any philosophical opposition, but because my life had no room for change. I was just living it. I did not engage in much self-reflection through my 20’s or 30’s – I was too preoccupied with all of the things I was doing.
I still do not do New Year’s resolutions, but over the past few years I have started the practice of writing gentle encouragements for myself in a notebook at times of the year when I am taking stock. These encouragements morph over time but generally cover the usual bases for maintaining a healthy balance – exercise, nutrition, daily routines such as writing, going to bed earlier, making social contact, completing acts of service, or meditating each morning. The encouragements are usually things I am already doing, at least some of the time. This way I can celebrate the good things and plan to continue or grow them.
Ex: Keep getting out walking with the dog as often as you can – everyday when possible!
Resolution is a strong word, meaning a firm decision to do or not do something. Everyone is different, but in my world that is a synonym for failure. Life is made up of small moments strung together; I must turn my ship in increments so I don’t swamp her.
Let’s face it – we are using lots of resolve just getting out of bed most days in January, at least here in Canada. Let’s give ourselves a pat on the back for getting to a new year, and enjoy this moment!