TODAY is the last day of year 2017. There's just something about capping a year that makes me feel sentimental; plus being able to spend this precious moment with my family just makes it even more meaningful. Truth be told, this year had some really low points that I cried buckets over. But such is life and we just roll with its punches!
It is through these painful jabs that we grow and become better versions of ourselves anyway. There will always be 365 new days/ways to explore and enrich our lives. And there's no better time to celebrate this realization than now—the end of an old year and the brink of a new one.
Knowing when to walk away is never easy. But all of us can choose to move on from a toxic friendship, relationship, or even a stifling career whenever we want. We are allowed to distance ourselves from situations/people, including relatives, when we already feel uncomfortable, trapped, and/or just plain bad.
If for instance a relationship causes more pain than happiness—with red flags that have been repetitively ignored just continuing to make their annoying presence known—then it is time to reevaluate the relationship’s worth.
The thing is: when the time comes to close a door, there is no need to slam it shut to make a scene or drive a point. I’ve always preferred walking away gracefully; without any parting shots. I like to take my dignity, humanity, and self-respect intact along with me, no matter how tempting it is to be catty. I recognize that every exit is not necessarily a period or an exclamation point, but some are just an ellipsis…a chance for a new beginning.
I’d like to believe that no one has ever regretted being gracious. A year from a dramatic encounter, I don’t want to have to flinch or cringe at how I chose to handle things. Immaturely burning bridges only cause regret because that very same bridge might one day be safe enough to venture back on and traverse again.
Let us all still choose to put our best foot forward and make a good final lasting impression. Graceful exits pave the way for joyful, grand entrances. The way we choose to exit this year will determine how we enter the coming one. I always choose gratitude and appreciation by counting my blessings, as opposed to focusing on what did not work out. No year of mine is ever perfect, but I believe that the challenges that come my way are part of God’s master plan. Sometimes, things may fall apart, but they somehow comeback together, work out, and fall into place.
We are all lucky to always get a chance for a new beginning every start of the year. When I was in high school, a stray bullet landed smack in the middle of my room at half past midnight on New Year. I just finished brushing my hair in front of the mirror, left to turn off the lights, when it penetrated the ceiling, and then landed on the same spot I had just vacated. That made me wary of firecrackers and other weird noises that pop out of nowhere.
Then the death of my grandma on Jan.1, '08, followed by the sudden death of my very healthy mom thirty days later, was another New Year that left an indelible mark. Every time the year comes to a close, I can't help but think of these two episodes.
At times, these memories make me wish I can bubblewrap or cover my own children with bulletproof padding. It would be nice to shield them from the harsh realities of life. But alas, that is no way to live. They have to go through their own journey and learn their own lessons.
If anything, these instances remind me that life is precious because time is very limited. We are all not guaranteed a tomorrow because life can end in a snap; so as cliché as it may sound, I tell my kids to live each day to the fullest. Make tons of memories and take lots of pictures!
Someone up there is clearly in control, so cast thy worries upon Him. Learn from the past, plan for the future, but always, always live for today. Today is a gift that it why it is called the present. Enjoy the ride, bumps and potholes included, because He will always lead us where we are meant to be. Right now, let’s wrap up all the lessons learned and blessings that made this year rich, and embrace the coming 2018, already feeling positively sure that it is going to better.
If we've made mistakes, it is okay because everyone makes them and we're entitled to that. Let's just move on, forward. There’s a popular saying that: hope springs eternal. But we can't just hope! We also have to do something. Let us not be scared in trying new things, learning a lot, living well, pushing ourselves to do better as we ring out the old and ring in the new.
We are so blessed to always be given a new beginning. Tomorrow is the start of a new book with 365 clean pages. We have the power and freedom to make our own choices; to do good or otherwise. Happy New Year! Cheers to another chance to do it right…
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Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 31, 2017.