As a child, I remember the start of a new year in school.  It was the beginning of a new year and for our family it meant some new clothes, new crayons, pencils, and notepads.  There was both excitement and anxiety as I entered a new grade and wondered which of my friends would get to be in my class, how I would get along with my new teachers, and if the subjects would be easy or difficult. The start of school was always a new beginning for me.

Since I have become an adult, I haven’t had as many experiences or as regular experiences with this newness. There are the same feelings of excitement and anxiety as I start a new job or move to a new home. When I was younger, the birth of a new child, signaled a stage of life was upon us and how our family would manage the addition to our family created both excitement and anxiety. But each year as I grow older, there are not as regular of changes in my life and the result is getting trapped in routines, some of which are life-giving, but also some are not helpful.

A new year represents a season of beginning. As the calendar changes to January, we have an opportunity to make those famous ‘New Year’s Resolutions.” Most of us make these resolutions around losing weight or exercise because of our guilt from overindulging during the holidays, but perhaps we can think about making a few more changes which will challenge us with both excitement and yes, a little bit of anxiety.  Here are a few ideas… 

  • Get in touch with someone you haven’t talked with for a while. Do you ever wonder what some of your former neighbors, coworkers or school friends are doing? See if you can find someone and give them a call, email or even send them a letter. They’ll be happy to hear from you and catching up will bring a smile to your face.
  • Buy an article of clothing you’d never think about buying. How about a bright colored jacket or sweater? Some new wool socks with a wild print? A new dress in a new style, or the most comfortable shoes you can find?
  • Read a different kind of book or watch a television series you wouldn’t normally choose. Do you have children or grandchildren who watch a certain show? Ask them for a recommendation and give it a go. It will give you something new to talk about with them.
  • Similarly, listen to new music or a new radio station. New sounds can bring back memories or even cause us to have new, creative thoughts – worth a try!
  • For those who use the internet, consider taking an online course. Look into the classes yourself or ask a friend or family member to assist you.
  • Some seniors find it rewarding to set aside time to write letters to family members. It’s an opportunity to let you tell them how much you love them, and you can include photos or other mementos in the letters. Not only is this enjoyable, but it will be a lasting, priceless keepsake for your loved ones.
  • Try a new activity. This may sound like exercise, but we’re talking about something fun. Try to increase the number of steps you take each day by walking more, doing leg exercises while watching TV or sitting in your comfortable chair, or get out of the house more often to explore new sights. How about trying something like drawing, painting, knitting, crafting or doing jigsaw puzzles?  How about singing or playing a musical instrument? Many towns or churches have choirs who are always looking for a good voice. You may have done these activities years ago, so picking them up now will be a fun challenge.
  • How about creating a year long goal?  A friend of mine decided to try to read one book a week.  Some people adopt a reading plan to read through the Bible in a year.  
  • How about writing your history?  Even though our memories are sometimes spotty, I have found that our friends and family members love to hear the details of your life. My hasn’t the world changed since we first started out in life!

These are just a few; you can probably think of some others on your own. The important point is taking advantage of a moment when a new beginning can be created. There is not a better way to start a new year. Happy New Year!