BY PAMELA BOWMAN, MESA, USA — Norah Jones has a new single out. It is called I’ll Be Thinking About You. That pretty much summarizes this year. I will often think about all the people, places and events of this year and I will smile and I believe I will cry. It is strange how I placed so much emphasis on the concept of a New Year. It isn’t the New Year that alters my life direction. It is me. It is my life and I get to choose. Like wise it is your life and you get to choose too!
Today, Cyndi and I were exchanging Merry Christmas wishes. Our conversations can never be simple. No, we had to get philosophical. We were talking about what people can and do accomplish with their lives. We ended up talking about how there are those in the world who didn’t have encouraging parents or ideal situations, but they had determination and confidence in themselves in spite of their upbringing or life circumstances. Cyndi was raised in a small farming community in Wisconsin yet she just spent a year as the executive producer of a feature and documentary filmed in Africa. Not exactly what one might have expected from that background. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay area but lived and raised my family on a farm in northern Mexico for 17 years. Quite unexpected.
Likewise we met many in Africa who are ignoring their disadvantages and challenging circumstances of life to pursue their dreams and goals. All over the world, we see and meet such self-determined souls. I have come to believe we can accomplish whatever we set our minds to … it’s simply a matter of becoming aware of who we see ourselves to be in the world, whether we are inspired by our lives and whether others are inspired by what we’re taking on.
Even though I am no longer using the New Year as a benchmark to have a new beginning, I do feel like I have just finished reading and rereading the chapter of a history book, mine. I now feel that I have reviewed it long enough. I am now ready to take that learning to meet new characters, new challenges and discover new subplots. I find strenth in knowing this chapter will always be there to refer to, but I need to remind myself that the past can become a barrier or a path to the future. I choose the path.
Which segues into another thought I had yesterday. This year, for our annual Christmas Eve party we invited a different group of friends over. During the evening, I thought, “If I had been on the ball this year and actually mailed Christmas cards, how many new addresses would I be adding to my list? How many would I be deleting?”
For me, the thought was, how wonderful! My list has changed! My world is expanding which means that I am expanding. Then the thought came; maybe I am the “someone new” on someone else’s Christmas card list. Maybe there is someone who is glad that I am their new friend this year. Maybe I’m the expansion in their world. It was a fun thought.
As they say, the front of the hand always comes along with the back! In other words, both sides of anything are always present. On one hand, there are some people who may feel their life is so perfect and complete they do not need anything new or anyone else to be happy. Some may feel they are just too busy to have any more interactions with another human being. I, on the other hand, find myself rejuvenated meeting new people and discussing new ideas and declaring my opinions with sincerely interested friends. I have yet to meet a person that I didn’t learn something from. For me that is what I enjoy and value–the learning that comes from human connection and interaction.
So, my plan is to continue to learn and take moments to “think about you” — the people who have enriched and contributed to my life experience. I will not allow myself to lead anything but a full-on, self-fulfilled life. I won’t allow circumstances to limit what I want and am able to do. A self-fulfilled life is the key. A SELF-fulfilled life will be defined differently for each of us because, whether we’re American, Zambian, Iraqi or whatever, we are each a unique contribution to the world. Respecting, appreciating and valuing those differences is what puts us on someone’s “Christmas card list.”
So Happy New Year to friends old and new. I’ll be thinking about you. And guess what! I bought some Christmas cards on Christmas eve … Do I have your address?