I have never been much of a resolutions person. I do make resolutions, but never at the start of the New Year. Other than being a trifle cliché-ish, I mostly didn’t believe that I should have to wait till the start of a new year and the so-called 365-days-blank slate to decide on what needed to change in my life. True to form, nothing was different this New Year’s. For the second year running I had opted to take my leave in January and this time around I took time to reflect back on my last year, just to see if I was still on track for what I had hoped to achieve by this time.
2014 was a
big year huge year for me. My life literally underwent a transformation at all levels – career, business, emotional, spiritual, intellectual…..every single level. It was a roller coaster to say the least and I was looking forward to my long break at the end of the year to just relax and catch my breath! As I started my break in mid-Dec, I couldn’t help but wonder if 2015 could even hold a candle to 2014, but that’s something I shall figure out as the year unfolds.
What struck me the most about last year was that in the midst of all the balls I was juggling, inevitably I dropped a few. I found that I was mostly too busy to nurture quality time with friends and family. Even my closest friends at some point nearly gave up on me due to the fact that I rarely returned their calls or texts. My family clamored for my attention (mostly in vain) and eventually accepted that I had become a rare commodity.
I distinctly remember being so pressed for time, especially in the second half of the year that I would desperately wish that there were more hours in the day just to accomplish what I needed to. As the year drew to a close, I was in awe of the magnitude of my achievements and simply pushed what it had cost me to the back of my mind as I embarked on a much awaited vacation.
However reality eventually beckoned and in the silence of my solitary moments, it quietly dawned on me that I had lost something that was truly invaluable. Time. Time with people who mattered to me. Precious memories of which I was not part. Moments that I would never get back. Feelings that I would never be a part of. In my intense determination to make something of myself, had I lost myself in the process? As my reflections got deeper, my thoughts grew more forlorn and I became intensely introverted even as those around me threw themselves into hearty celebrations, hardly noticing that I was but barely present.
I was relieved when January dawned (I never thought that I would look forward to this month) as it offered the reprieve of intense activity – going back to school preparations and all that which offered a much needed distraction. Before long however, it was back to reflections as I was home alone with nothing but my thoughts for company. That’s when it hit me. I had a choice. I could allow myself to get caught up in what had already happened in the past, and depress myself in the process. Or I could make a choice to do something different this time. The choice was easy. But I knew the actual implementation wouldn’t be such a walk in the park.
To start myself off, I looked back on 2014 with different eyes, open eyes. I asked myself what I could have done differently and this time I tried not to judge myself too harshly. I realized that if I didn’t let go then I would not be able to move on. So I forgave myself for each time I let someone down. For each time I didn’t come through. For each text I did not reply and each call I did not return. For all the whatsapp groups I exited from. (this one was easy). For all the family occasions I missed. For each time I came home late and missed my son’s bedtime. For all the dinner dates I cancelled. For each time a friend needed me and I selfishly disregarded them, putting myself above them.
I felt immensely lighter but I knew the hard part was just beginning. The hard part was doing my hardest to make sure that I wouldn’t have to forgive myself for these things again. The hard part starts now, today and every day. The hard part is finding that evasive balance to make sure no matter how hard I work, my family and friends do not suffer the consequences. The hard part is making sure that out of all the limited time available to me, some little time always goes to those invaluable moments. Those precious memories that once taken away cannot be reverted.
Whether or not you believe in making (and keeping) resolutions, ask yourself this year and every year what it costs you to chase after your goals. Find that delicate balance because great achievements matter more when you have people to share them with. You do not want to wake up one day and realize that you lost the moon while counting the stars.