Look Back And Move Forward

Well folks, we made it.

Today marks the 365th and final day of 2015. Tonight as we listen to the countdown until midnight and gaze upon our television sets at a shiny orb moving slowly toward its base, we’re reminded to look forward. We see the turning of the calendar as a sort of re-birth, a chance — or at least an excuse — to better ourselves or right the wrongs of our last trip around the sun.

I’ve always been a big fan of New Year’s Eve. Not so much because of the parties or celebrations (although it always seems to be a wonderful time to get together with friends), but because of the optimism. As a species, we can be pretty cynical. I’m as — if not more — guilty than most. And I’d argue some events of the past year have given us ample reason to be negative. Still, if only for a few minutes as we swing from one year to the next, there seems to be a collective hope we only feel that one night.

That fact has always been interesting to me. What about the flipping of a page on the calendar gives us such reason to feel optimistic? Realistically, why would Jan. 1, 2016, be any different from Dec. 31, 2015?

I think a big part of it is not so much in the looking forward and the making of resolutions, but in looking back. If you’re like me (which, for your sake, I hope you’re not) the last few days of the year are spent in reflection, even if it’s not necessarily on purpose. I can’t help but think about where my life is now compared to one year ago.

What did I accomplish? What mistakes did I make? What steps did I take to improve my lot in life? What have I done to build or maintain relationships that are important to me? These are all questions that will probably continue to run through my mind right up until the clock strikes “12:00.”

It seems that, for whatever reason, once the ball has dropped and “Auld Lang Syne” starts playing, those questions have been answered. Suddenly the mind shifts from the “what dids” to the “what ifs” and “what cans.” It’s almost as if that strike of the clock grants each of our brains permission to look forward now that we’ve taken stock of what was.

The last 12 months have been, admittedly, been a bit of a rollercoaster for me. As in any year, not everything I’ve done or experienced, or every decision I’ve made, has been a good one. But, for the most part, I think I did pretty well in 2015.

The year started on a rough note as I dealt with grief and feeling as if everyone I cared about was going through adversity of some kind. Things began to look up again in the summer with a little more free time, a couple vacations and a check or two off the ol’ bucket list. But, in August, I was impacted by death again and things very briefly took a turn for the worse.

The last few months have, for the most part, been great. Sure, I still have my bad days, but the professionally, socially and just in general, I’m happy. I don’t believe optimism will be hard to conjure up when we reach midnight.

No matter what you see when you look back at 2015, use tonight as an excuse to move forward. I wish you all the best in 2016!

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