I’m always tempted at this time to recount the good, the bad, and the ugly of 2015 (or whatever year it might be). I assure you that is NOT what this post is about because who wants to relive the actual news that the infamous sweater-wearing, pudding-eating, TV doctor faces a litany of sexual allegations. (Wait, did the news break in ’14? Oh, I can’t remember. We were undoubtedly talking about it in 2015.) On a somber note, we definitely don’t want to remember the Parisian attacks. Horrifying! You need a palate cleanser. Did you hear about the real-life “Notebook couple” who died holding hands together at a hospice in February? That sorbet started super sweet but ended a little too sour. Maybe, I should lighten the mood with a little laughter. Remember when Steve Harvey wished everyone “Merry Easter” on Christmas Day?! (How embarrassing was THAT?!) We ALL can belt (or at least pretend to sing) the hottest phone song of the year, “Hello,” (it’s me). It’s possibly even bigger than that other phone phenomenon song, “Call me, Maybe.” And, can someone please tell me. . . is the dress blue or white??? Oh, this is a good one. Remember when— wait. I said this wasn’t a recap post. Let’s just uncomfortably exchange a quick glance, awkward pause, and move on. . .
This post is REALLY about 16 ways to have the best 2016—of your life. You probably clicked this post because you want this next year to be even BETTER than the last. Who wouldn’t? Here’s 16 ways to make your year. . .Let me stop right there. This post isn’t actually a “Top 16” either. . .
What is it about then, you ask? Well let’s start with the beginning, because after all, “it’s a very good place to start!”
I’ve read loads of how-to’s throughout my life but especially in the last few weeks of 2015. (I’m not sure if I’m a sucker for advertisement and killer titles or simply trying to steal Kate Hudson’s adorable role as “Andie Anderson: The How-To Girl.”) As I continued to fall prey to article after article (they seriously get me every time), I was all too often left empty and dissatisfied. This is in no way is an insult to the writers. Many of the articles were engaging and definitely well written. However, I rarely finished feeling I had gained real knowledge that was applicable to my life. Sure, there were a few helpful tips or items to ponder, but nothing as enlightening as the title led me to believe. Here’s why. . .
In short, we live in a microwave society that craves “get rich quick tips.” You know what I mean. We’re bombarded with titles like, The Four Steps to the Epiphany; 50 Signs You Might be an Entrepreneur; 5 Steps to Handle Any Unforeseen Challenge; 3 ways to Organize your Room; 3 Factors Holding you Back from Massive Growth; 7 Mental Shifts that Allowed me to Become a Millionaire at 22, 16 Ways to Make 2016 Your Best Year YET (ahem); How to Raise and Keep a Dragon. Noticing a pattern? All are real titles to articles or books, even that last one. Why anyone, besides Daenerys Targaryen, would need a book on raising dragons, I’m not sure. But I mean. . . Become a millionaire by mental shifting 7 times? Hello! Sign me up—like yesterday. Something tells me, it might not be that simple. We, or maybe I should say I, are so easily enticed by someone telling us to improve our lives in 5 easy steps, or maybe 10—I’d even take 50 if I can become a millionaire by following them. As I pondered this problem plaguing our society, I came up with these 5 steps to fix it. Kidding. But, really, I thought about something that we often don’t do because of the effort and personal responsibility it entails.
I’m tempted here to prove blonde’s can, like, totally be brainy by referencing “ascetic ideals” in relation to reevaluating one’s life within a hierarchical value system along with humanity’s need for goals from Nietzsche’s most important work: On the Genealogy of Morality. But I won’t do that. (Uh oh. I just did. Oh well, moving on. . . Back to my blondes have more fun side.)
Er, maybe I still have my reading glasses on right now—meaning I am serious and mean business.
It’s much harder to take the time to evaluate and reevaluate our lives in order to truly come to a place of emotional humility. It’s easier to stay on the surface. It’s easier to have someone else tell us a few easy steps for improvement. It is not always the most productive course of action, though.”
So where do we go from here? Unfortunately, I can’t answer that for you. Only YOU can determine the course of this next year. I can, however, tell you what I plan to do this NYE and encourage you to, at some point, do something along the same lines.
This party girl is putting away her sequins this year for a night in. (I am a little sad as I tuck my fabulous party sparkles back in the closet and reminisce about our Suits and Sequins party last year. And yes, suits AND sequins were mandatory).
Back to my current situation. I am excited for this year because my husband and I are planning to do exactly what I mentioned above. We are taking NYE to evaluate and reevaluate our lives. We plan to pray in the New Year together. We are going to prayerfully discuss the confusing paradigm between balancing goals vs. audacious prayers vs. reality. I wish I could lay out an organized sketch and the 5 ways we plan to do so, but I can’t. Plus, that’s not my style.
I am NOT suggesting you opt out of your fabulous NYE plans to stay in and dream. In fact, if I were reading this any other year, I would roll my eyes, feel slightly annoyed, and most likely disregard the information. After all, it is NOT a how-to, and it leaves me far too much emotional homework to do at this time of year. I would most likely make a quick list of ways to improve myself (New Year’s Resolutions) and move on.
Like rules, New Year’s Resolutions are meant to be broken. Which is why I propose a New Year’s Reevaluation. It might be sweet. It might be sour. It might be tough. It might be full of fluff. It might be happy. It might be sappy. It might be gritty. It might be. . . You get the idea.
You might realize you need a little pruning. John Stott comments beautifully on the pruning process,
To the uninitiated it looks very cruel. Sometimes only a stump is left – naked, jagged, scarred, mutilated – to face the storms and the cold of the winter. But when the spring and summer return, there is much fruit. The sharp pruning knife has after all brought a blessing.”
Be encouraged, Spring is just around the corner. And who knows, maybe you’ll wake up in January and realize it has all bloomed earlier than you thought.