It happens every year. Another year dawns, and another year passes. At the beginning of a new year many people take stock of what they accomplished, or failed to accomplish, in the year that just passed. They also make what are usually called New Year’s resolutions, often pledging to themselves to improve in some area. With only two days left before 2017 begins, I am focusing on what I call commitments instead of resolutions. Some may think this is just wordsmithing, but to me there is a major difference in resolutions and commitments. The words themselves ring differently to me. A resolution is like a fad, such as the fad of purchasing gym memberships, going to the gym a few times, then quitting. A commitment is more like a promise to oneself, which I find is much harder to break. I am making one large commitment, one promise, to myself for 2017. Before discussing my 2017 commitment, I want to reflect on 2016.
2016 was an ok year for me, on both a personal and professional level. There were some gains, as well as some losses. I regained much of the weight I lost a few years ago. I am unhappy about that, and plan to correct that problem very soon. I have made that promise to myself. I had some great experiences, including being named one of Triangle Business Journal’s 2016 Women in Business honorees, in the Inspiration category. I finally finished my book that has been in process for ten years, and it is in publication now, and will be released in January.
In 2016 I had some wonderful times with family and friends. I was able to keep my almost twelve-year commitment to see our grandchildren no less than once a month, although they live several states away. I have not missed a month since our first granddaughter, Mary Grace, was born almost twelve years ago. My husband and I spent some relaxing time together, including some wonderful travel. I celebrated a friend’s birthday with her on a great trip to NYC. Helping host a baby shower for a friend’s first grandchild gave me a special time with her and other friends who, because of the distance between us, I see too rarely. I finally recovered from an almost two-year bout with Bursitis in both hips, even despite my weight gain. (I certainly hope my hips don’t need this extra weight!) Also, I had another “gain” in 2016, when I became Medicare eligible!
2016 was also a time of loss. I lost a dear friend to cancer, and her death was totally unexpected. She lived in England and I had not seen her for several months. Her illness and death came quickly. The fact that she is gone is still a shock. This loss, as well as the loss of loved ones by others I know, one whose grandson was only in his 20’s, is the reason for my 2017 commitment. The news this week has been consumed by the death of several celebrities, including Carrie Fisher who was only 60 from a heart condition, and her mother, Debbie Reynolds, who died only one day later. This life should not be taken for granted, for death can claim us at any time. Such is the reason for my 2017 commitment.
In 2017 I will live each day mindfully, aware that decisions and choices I make can be life altering, for the good, or not. I am aware that every day I am living my legacy. While my personal life and especially relationships will continue to be a priority, my professional work will be more of a priority than it has been in 2016. Although I am 65, I hope to have ten good work years left. By 75, I will probably be ready to close out the professional part of life, but not until then, assuming I remain healthy. Retirement is not my goal for the next few years, meaningful work is. In 2017 these words will be combined with actionable results. I do believe the words of the person who said, “If work isn’t more fun than work, you’re doing it wrong!”
Mindful living allows us to live and leave a legacy of significance. While it is certainly possible to live a life of significance on a personal level, I want my legacy to also be one of professional significance. While some might say I have done that, I know that my professional work isn’t finished yet.
Welcome to a brand-new year of opportunity. May your 2017 commitments be those that will position you for all that you want your life to be. This life is too precious to be taken for granted. We owe it to ourselves to be our best selves. We also owe it to others, including those who are no longer with us.