Welcoming the New Year

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By Nina S. Custodio

Doc@XXLarge

Saturday, December 28, 2013


IT'S a few days before the New Year and I am pretty sure that most of us are gearing up for the final hurrah before we welcome 2014 and leave 2013 behind. One final excuse to eat, drink and be merry!

Whew. What a year. This year has brought a lot of challenges to our country that we are still trying to rise above. A lot of disgruntled people from both sides trying to make sense of what has happened and doubly exerting efforts to look beyond what is clearly chaos and hopelessness in the flesh. I would like to think that things are much better now and that we have at least began to sleep better but in reality, all of us are all still suffering from traumatic stress (www.sunstar.com.ph/davao/.../custodio-trauma-our-midst-315304).

This holiday season, I have been fighting off melancholy not only due to personal issues but also due the natural calamities that swept through our country in the last couple of months. It gets harder to continuously think positive because there's a lot of negative reactions and discoveries that are splashed on print, television, radio airwaves and in social media. I get it how some people seem to get stuck with pointing out the bad things, but it gets people down and that doesn't feel right with the holiday season.

It is disconcerting to feel guilty about trying to celebrate Jesus' birth and forget the calamities even for just a few days. I applaud everyone who chose to forego huge parties and much merrymaking to donate their Christmas party budgets to worthy causes but it would be unfair to not let those who want to celebrate. Right?

It is the 29th and well, 2014 is a few days away. We have a few days to ponder about the lessons of this year so that next year will be better for us! Some may have started looking up horoscope forecasts or thought about resolutions or both…all in the usual ‘tradition’ of getting ready to welcome the new year!

We all reflect about what has transpired in the past because it does tell us so many things. It teaches us valuable lessons, both good and bad, so that we can come to worthy realizations that will help us be better versions of ourselves. Last year, I did not make any new year's resolutions and I guess in a way it was good for me. It allowed me the freedom to really experience 2013 without taking anything into consideration.

You know, I take what comes, act according to how I wanted or needed to react and then pick up the lessons (or deal with the consequences) that come with it in the end. In a way there were no "NOs" for last year that were pre-planned, just possibilities and surprises. It allowed me to lessen thoughts and ideas that suggested that "can't," "couldn't" or shouldn't do something; for the first time in my life I was facing life and its challenges head on--and I loved it!

I did stuff I had always wanted to do like paint, cross my legs (www.sunstar.com.ph/.../custodio-living-life-legs-crossed-310748), take my master's degree, travel and help a worthy cause while maintaining all the stuff that I was already doing before! Not having a new year's resolution certainly helped! I am glad that the decision tilted in my favor in the end. Now that we need to embrace 2014 soon, it will probably be a good idea to change how we see certain things and try another way of looking at the year ahead.

Let go of regret about things we were not able to do. Why regret? There is going to be a whole new year ahead for us to do it! Things do not get done not only because we procrastinated or we did not try hard enough, sometimes it just wasn’t meant to be! We can continually challenge that into the new year until we achieve it!

However, if time has run out and to do anything will be too late, accept it and move on. Do not carry that load of regret into the new year because it will weigh you down. A part of you will keep reliving the bad memories of 2013 when you should be better equipped with the lessons of those bad memories instead.

Let go of guilt feelings about doing things that make you happy. Why is it that we have better regard for other people's feelings more than our own? We always seem to think about other people first before we even think about ourselves. We somehow equate putting ourselves first as being selfish and so in the end we suffer from the effects of self-neglect. It is wonderful that we are genuinely concerned for others but let us not forget that we need some self-pampering too!

Creating opportunities for one’s self to explore and discover things that you like is good for the soul. Do not be afraid to step out of the box and go into the unknown side of things. It may be scary at first, but it can really hold wonderful surprises that you will treasure for the rest of your life.

Let go of that feeling that most people are better off than you are. Yes it is difficult to not compare one's self to others but that in itself sets us up for a lot of unsettling feelings. It belittles all the achievements that we accomplished. It makes us feel less worthy than we actually are. It takes away our confidence and plunges us into the depths of worry and despair. What we should do is really focus on our strengths.

We need to be more proactive so that we do not end up blaming ourselves (and others) for any shortcomings. We should focus on things that make us stronger, more prepared and more confident about facing what lies ahead because we all have worth in this world and we matter.

We are always works in progress. We continually change with the times. We just need to pay attention to ourselves at least as much as we do with other people. For the coming year, do what you think is best for you--make plans, strategize or just let yourself go and go for it! Happy New Year Everyone!

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on December 29, 2013.

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