– attributed to Charles Dederich (1913-1997) founder of the drug-rehabilitation program Synanon
New Year’s Day 2011 marks the beginning of the Chinese Year of the Rabbit. It is, the Chinese believe, an auspicious year: carefree, happy, evenly-tempered, and relaxed. It follows the Year of the Tiger – 2010 – a year of power, display of might, courage, and authoritarian respect.
I'm happy to know that the Chinese believe, as I do about Sanford and the global community, that we are making a turning point into a truly fresh start. It's long overdue.
Too much negative news floods our media; the world is unbalanced, many are in poor conditions. Yes, the time has come for a new beginning, a prosperous, healthy, happy period where we can at least catch our breath and refocus on what is truly important.
I find the beginning of any new year to be a somber, reflective time. I carefully consider the past year, reviewing different “failures” and “successes” with a critical eye, wondering what to take with me into the pages of this next calendar year, and what to discard.
I don't make New Year's resolutions. I've tried – with all good intentions – several times in my life so far, but my efforts to “change” something usually fizzled out after a few weeks. I never could stick to a serious diet or health routine. I'm not much of a smoker or drinker – two of the biggest resolutions people make each New Year – and I feel that my life is generally pretty good, give or take a few unexpected oddities that can throw my mental, emotional, or biological balance off.
Instead, I decided many years ago that I would approach each day as a sort of personal “New Year,” with my birthday in April being my pivotal point, a day in which I make sure that any thoughts I'd had about my previous year would come to rest, whether fully resolved or not.
And so I started out this day, as I do every day, with that attitude, summed up in the famous quote, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life."
There's a lot of truth in those few words: Yesterday is gone forever, tomorrow hasn't yet arrived, and so there is only this moment. Choices can be made to heal yesterday's wounds or plan for tomorrow, but it is only this day that is truly available to us to create our life in.
Each day, my personal New Year's Day, I strive to become a little more conscientious, a little less judgmental.
I enjoy walking, and find that I do my best meditations on the state of my being during my downtown Sanford strolls. I consider what's best to let go of, and what beneficial options I may be overlooking.
Sometimes I'm lucky enough to have little on my mind, freeing me to just “be” and observe the beauty around me in this fine little town that I've chosen as my home, and I smile from my heart.
So it goes for me: create each day with a positive attitude, forgive myself and others for real or imagined hurts, and thank those who make a difference in my life. I will carry on proudly, work hard, love unconditionally, and always remember that it is up to me to make a difference – in my life, my work, my Sanford community, and ultimately in the world.
I ask you to reflect on this New Year's Day: What will you do for your new day, your new year, your new life?
Yvette Comeau owns Maya Books & Music. Comments can be sent to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or Herald publisher Gene Kruckemyer at GKruckemyer@MySanfordHerald.com. Topics for The Sanford Herald’s Centennial Forum opinion series are chosen by the community writers.