At the end of each year, I have a personal tradition that I engage in.
I spend the last week of the year in quiet reflection of the year that has just passed, and the new year that is to come.
I make time in my schedule to be alone, with just my notes from the previous year to keep me company.
I gather up all those pieces of paper on which I’ve scribbled ideas for articles, blog posts, or new projects I wanted to take on or complete (yes, I do hang onto them!). I spend time thinking about what I’ve accomplished and what I didn’t get around to doing.
I think about which people and what events inspired me this year, who and what got me fired up, and what did I do about it.
Yes I do make some new year’s resolutions – just a few, just personal things. Mostly I make plans and set goals. I think about where I want to go, and where I want to be at the end of next year, what I want to get done and what I feel I should abandon.
This year I’ve included something both new and old into my thought process.
Years ago I read several books by Robert Fulghum, one of my favorite authors. One of his books, Words I Wish I Wrote: A Collection of Writing That Inspired My Ideas, is one I picked up when I was going through a major upheaval in my life, and needed to chart a new path. This particular book is where I found the inspiration to try my hand at writing.
Recently, while visiting my parents, my Mom shared with me a few passages from another of Mr. Fulghum’s books – one I’d also read (and loved) – “What on Earth Have I Done?” by Robert Fulghum.
As I listened to her read, I was reminded again of the reasons why I loved this book (and of course, how wonderful it is when parents read to their children). I remembered why it was that I found Mr. Fulghum’s words to be so very inspirational when I first read them, and again now as I listened to them.
So as I sit down to start thinking this week, my mind is turning again and again to the questions Fulghum opens “What on Earth Have I Done” with – as he calls them, the “Mother Questions“:
- What on earth have you done?
- What in the name of god are you doing?
- What will you think of next?
- Who do you think you are?
These questions are much more than just those a parent would ask a child – they are questions we should ask ourselves.
What have I done this past year? What am I doing now? What will I think of/plan for next year? And ‘who do I think I am’ is especially important to think about…..because who we are is wrapped up in all of those questions……because who we are guides us in our personal and professional lives, and colors every decision we make.
These questions are helping me form the basis of my planning for next year, both in life and in work.
I’ve picked the book back up and am now re-reading it, and finding inspiration again already.
Where will you find inspiration for the coming year? If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking!
Happiest of Holidays and warmest wishes for 2011 to all of you,
Who and what inspired you this past year? Share your reflections!