Nostalgia gives way to setting goals, helping others

Published 4:00 pm Tuesday, December 14, 2021

During times of transition, nostalgia helps us maintain a sense of stability, ensuring that the person we are is not lost amid the inevitable flux of life.

People feel more nostalgic during the holidays because many memories are reawakened and relationships renewed. During the holidays, families and friends get together to celebrate and reconnect; they get caught up on one another’s lives, reminisce and browse through old photographs.

Even from afar, friends and relatives get back in touch, with phone calls, letters, greeting cards and posts on social networking sites. Like anniversaries and other temporal landmarks, holidays remind us of special times and help us keep track of what has changed and what has remained the same in our lives — and in ourselves.

This nostalgia often gives way to the tradition of New Year’s resolutions.  Some 4,000 years ago in ancient Babylonia, locals believed that by offering and fulfilling promises to pay off debts and return borrowed objects, their gods would show them favor in the following year. The Babylonians’ resolutions were reportedly focused on money and wealth, values that still pop up in today’s New Year’s resolutions, along with health, wellness, career, productivity, and relationship goals.

Today’s practice of setting self-improvement goals on an annual basis is usually a secular one, but the roots of the practice remain clear: use a natural breakpoint, like the new year, to reflect on your life and resolve to be better going forward.  This personal practice occurs in our work life.  Businesses set goals, plan on how to improve, and evaluate the past year.  

Non-profits are often viewed by the public as falling into a grey area.  Often not viewed as businesses but serving a mission creating conflict in the metrics used to measure success and set goals.  Yet, non-profits from the United Way to the Arts Council all evaluate their service, set goals, and make resolutions on how to serve their communities. The balance is divining what the customer desires.  Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey, recently reduced their product line by 200 underperforming brands from Tab to Odwalla. Driven by consumers changing demands and the need for shelf space for new products Quincey accepted the love of niche brands by customer but made changes to ensure sustainability of Coca-Cola.

Non-profits that serve our community spend long periods of time reviewing needs, evaluating resources, and consulting with advisors from Board members to experts.  The arts council has two periods each year.  The holiday season offers reflection on programs that engaged the community from participants to building community.  It is also the time when our Board, Staff and volunteers evaluate the plans for the coming year.  We reflect on ideas from the community that have been proposed all year, explore changes to programs, and take inventory of what needs are yet to be met by our services.

A short summary of the past year had the Arts Council focus on assisting artists to reimagine their work during COVID, adjust educational programs to offer in person and online learning, and tweak community events support Thacker Mountain Radio with tools to return to live outdoor performances and hosting small pop up events from culinary cook-offs to mini art showcases.  The arts council is here to serve every resident of Lafayette County, and to attract tourist and visitors to support our local businesses. 

Therefore, as you are taking time for nostalgia and resolution setting.  One of your resolutions can be to assist our community in growing by sharing your ideas with the Arts Council.  Mental health professionals impart one key pieces related to goal setting.  Often when setting goals people shoot for the starts and become discouraged when they fail. The important part of goal setting is to set realistic goals through small incremental steps. That goals are about creating opportunities. 

If you would like to share your ideas with the arts council the director, reach out to me at yacdirector@gmail.com

Wayne Andrews is director of the YAC.