Happy New Year!
May 2008 be better than ’07.
This time of year always brings on retrospective looks at the year that passed, and hopeful thoughts on the year to come. Quite frankly, I get sick of hearing all of it. Yeah, so there were some bad times in 2007. There were some good times, too. It all balances out. 2008 will largely be like all the years that preceeded it. It being an election year, it will no doubt be frought with controversy and public discussion of problems that will likely never be solved.
It occurs to me that our system of starting a new year on January 1 is largely arbitrary. Why not start the year on, say, the winter solstice, or perhaps the first day of Spring? Actually, starting on the first day of Spring makes a lot of sense to me. Nature is starting to bloom, the weather is warming up, everything looks more promising in Spring. Instead, we start the new year in the dead of Winter. No wonder no-one is able to keep their new year’s resolutions? All vigor and motivation is sapped out of them as they shiver and curse the cold.
A thought on the finer things.
The holiday season is always hectic, whether you celebrate Christmas, Chanukka, Kwanzaa, or nothing at all. The stores are filled with people rushing around trying to figure out what gift says, “I don’t know you very well, even though we’re related, but I care about you and hope this is roughly equal in value to the non-personal bauble you purchased with me in mind.” Those who are out just trying to do normal everyday shopping tasks, become frustrated and their aggrivation becomes contagious, making for a rather unpleasant outing for all.
What causes all this? Well, it’s really quite simple. We, as a people, have lost touch with the finer things in life. I know, that sounds cliche’. It is true, though. Sometimes we get so caught up in what we can accomplish and what we can acquire that we forget to be thankful for what we have done (or avoided doing) and what we have been granted. God is good. God grants us a great many blessings and freedoms and we should remember to always embrace that.
My wife and I lead a lifestyle that many don’t understand. I work full time and she is by and large a housewife. She does babysit my nephews for a few days a week for minimal pay. Do not think for one second that she doesn’t work for a living. She is one of the hardest working women I know. Cleaning up after me is 2 full time jobs alone. Putting up with me is 3. We are working to get ourselves out of debt and we sacrifice a great many things in pursuit of that goal. It’s easy to complain about that sacrifice. Creature comforts are nice, and doing without them can be downright unpleasant. However, we still have fairly comfortable lives. The house we live in is paid for. The cars we drive are ours. We have food on the table. If we didn’t have food, we have family and friends who would be willing to feed us. Life, as they say, “is good.”
We have friends who live an intersting lifestyle as well. The husband built their house with his own two hands, and they homeschool their children. They are very open to DIY living and make many of the things they use on a daily basis. I applaud them and their choice to “go against the grain.” It’s a spirit such as theirs that built this nation and I can only hope to find the courage to emulate them more. They have truly figured out what the finer things in life are.
So what are some of the finer things? Here’s a short, non-inclusive list in no particular order:
1. A good leisurely shave.
2. A walk in nature.
3. Knowing you’re doing your best.
4. A firm handshake.
5. New socks.
6. A warm embrace from one you love (and who loves you).
7. A good movie.
8. A good read.
9. A quiet place.
So, as 2008 rears it’s head and you start your quest to make it the best darn year ever, remember, it’s not about finding happiness from without, but from finding contentedness within.