Pay homage to Janus, but look forward

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, January 3, 2024

By Bonnie Brown

Welcome to 2024!  Show of hands if you are glad to leave 2023 in the rear-view mirror. Yes, I see that many of you are eager to wipe the slate clean, so to speak, and set your dial for success in every area of your life.

I think many of us experience the post-Christmas funk which comes as a result of exhaustion and regret.  Exhaustion because we’ve been in overdrive for perhaps weeks now.  Trying to decide on gifts, trying to stay within a budget, trying to make this holiday special for everyone, and dealing with the regret of purchases or encounters that were unexpected and disappointing.   Then, when the celebration is over, the tree seems to be a reminder of all the hard work that went into making this holiday the best ever.  Did we succeed?  Yes, because we reflect not on the outcome but rather the intention of creating the perfect experience for all those about whom we care.  And that is enough.

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It seems that I’m painting a very negative entrance into 2024.  And I really don’t mean to.  I was so fortunate to spend time with our family, even the ones who were not physically present were ever present in my mind and heart—and over the phone.  Christmas seems to be a time of reflection.  We think back to earlier Christmas celebrations and remember family members and friends who are no longer here to be a part of our celebration.  We are sad, but we motor on in this life as best as we can.

The new year allows us to fashion a better path forward.  It is called optimism.  We will take down the tree and decorations and resume our routines.  But we move forward with a happy heart because we have tucked away many memories that we will cherish as we navigate the new year.  We have learned that a new year brings with it the opportunity to realize the resolutions we made—lose weight, get in shape, stop smoking, get organized, be more present.  We want to approach this new year with the hope that perhaps some of our dreams will be realized.

We are still faced with a multitude of serious problems—so much crime, wars, devastation from the recent storms that erased what would have been a beautiful Christmas for folks in the path of these devastating storms.  And instead, they might now be homeless, or have lots of repairs to be made to their homes and throughout their community.  But in every case, the human spirit rises, and we take it up a notch and do whatever needs to be done.  It can be exhausting, but again we have hope that we can make it right, overcome the negatives, and continue on.

Remember the feelings you experienced as you clinked glasses to wish everyone a Happy New Year.  You exchanged hugs and kisses and the optimism that we carry forward into the new year is strong and palpable.

I’ve read that the month of “January” is named for Janus, the ancient Roman god who is often depicted as having two faces  – one looking forward and one looking back.  So, pay homage to Janus and look back on 2023, but move boldly into 2024 with intention and optimism.