Hump Day, New Year’s Eve and Change.

calendar
Started thinking that if Hump Day is the beginning of the end of the work week, that it’s the day of the week that catapults you into the weekend, then maybe New Year’s Eve is synonymous to Hump Day in that it’s THE day of the year that catapults you into the New Year.  My analogy probably breaks down at some point, or maybe it already has, but for me, Hump Day is to the week, as New Year’s Eve is to the year; they represent days that are agents of change.
They each represent a shift, at the least a shift in perspective, perhaps a shift in thinking.  I do realize that New Year’s Eve IS the penultimate day of the year, and that Wednesday is not the penultimate day of the week, but stay with me.  This post is more about the change that each of these days represent, not where they are positionally.
To being further exploration, let’s get into some formal definitions of the word ‘change.’
Change -noun.  the act or fact of changing; fact of being changed; a transformation or modification; alteration.
Change – verb. to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc.,
of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone.
I would like to focus more on the noun change, rather than the verb, although both definitions will come into play.  Found this great quote, that I will base some of my thoughts on.  Just like Hump Day, or our annual New Year’s ritual of making resolutions, we hang the things we want to change on some kind of external affect, or some external force.
But according to Socrates, true change won’t come through that kind of influence.
Socrates quote on changeInstead of looking at the ‘now’, or looking over our shoulder to the past, look ahead.  Sure, the old is gone, the new has come, and it is only human to think, “Whew, I’m glad this or that is behind me”, but we tend to base our forward progress on where we’ve come from, not where we’re heading.
A verse in Scripture says it like this, “And Jesus said unto him, “No man, having put his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62.
There is a passage in Isaiah 50 that talks about “setting your face like flint”, while this is speaking of Christ and His determination to fulfill his purpose by dying for us, I think it also speaks to how resolute we should be in all things we feel compelled to accomplish.
Sure, change can come from external forces, such as things that come into our lives unexpectedly, or unwontedly.  Death, illness, some catastrophic event, loss of finances, divorce, loss of a job, and other things will change us, that is a given.  It’s how we react to these things that determines what kind of person we are and what kind of change these things will affect.
“Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.”  – John Green, The Fault In Our Stars.
I heard someone say once that people will not judge you by your actions but by your reactions.  So very true!  Our reaction to unwanted change, or any change for that matter, will reveal who we truly are.  Socrates quote on change
But I believe there is a true change that is also brought about by some kind of catalyst that pushes us to discover who we really are, or pushes us to explore things we’ve never explored, desires we’ve never followed, or to become the person we’ve always wanted to be.  We can easily be lulled into the complacency of who we are, or what we do and never take the dive into something new, something that deep down we’ve always desired to do, or be.
It’s often change that IS the catalyst, whatever, or whenever it invades our lives.  It’s the upheaval in our life that literally pushes into change and it too often happens when we are most unaware.  And that’s what I believe makes it SO great!  If we sat around thinking about the change, or changes, we wanted to make in our lives and never acted upon them, then we would most likely find ourselves exactly at the same spot in our thinking a year, or two later.  The catalyst for change is many times change itself!  Wonderful irony!
change quote-if you want something you've never had
So take this double-whammy of Hump Day and New Year’s coinciding and use that as the impetus for your change.  Don’t focus on it as the motivating factor, take it as a motivating factor.
Set your face like flint, keep your hand to the plow and DON’T look back!
Change!

The Weight of Waiting

I usually find myself creating a couple of blogs this time of year, and since I’ve been laid up from some end-of-the-year surgery, I thought I’d go ahead and get started.  You’ll have to forgive me if all of this sounds a bit melancholy, dark or depressing, I guess that’s where my mind and heart are right now…who knows why.  It’s always this time of year, the whole classic ‘out with the old, in with the new’ part of each year, that sends my soul searching, wondering, and experiencing a bit of forlornness that I don’t experience the rest of the year.

CALENDAR-STOCK-THUMBNAIL384x200_1

This final week of the year, the cusp of a New Year and the dregs of the old, is a span of time that seems to almost stand still for me.  Not sure why, but I think some of it has to do with the weight of the past year that is heavy upon me and the anticipation, waiting and expectation of the New Year.

It’s this time of EVERY year, I think about the things that weren’t accomplished during the course of the year.  The setbacks, the missed deadlines, lost opportunities, times of illness, loss of a loved-one, loss of a friend; lethargy and even some despondency, are all crushing in on me.  In fact, I find myself thinking back not just through this year but at times, my WHOLE LIFE during this time of the year!  Then the weight presses in on me even more.  I will break free from this captive way of thinking eventually but for now, it’s where I am.

Emerson asks the question, “How much of human life is lost in waiting?”  And I wonder about how much of our ‘lost life’ we spend time contemplating?  I know, I know, you can’t live your life looking backwards, or wondering about what ‘might have been’ but I feel it’s more like taking stock, or making an inventory of things in our lives.  And if it makes you better for it, then I see no harm.  It can, and usually will, make us better AND stronger.

hourglass

The Bible certainly speaks to taking an account of our lives. Galatians 6:4 “But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another.”  You’ll also find lots of Scripture in regards to perseverance, and patience, too many to list here.  I believe it’s a combination of allowing ourselves the ‘dark times’ of contemplation, and observing, that we can then step into the light of a life that is better lived and perhaps, richer.

Waiting?  Can’t stand it.  A sober assessment of all things?  Bring it on!

But could someone get this elephant of waiting off my chest please!

Finding the Write Way

The Christmas packages have been torn open, the traditional Christmas meal eaten and now the house is humming that familiar after Christmas melancholy tune.  I don’t about you but for me, it’s this time every year that I feel the crushing weight of the ‘what I should have done’ or ‘what I didn’t do’ items leftover from the year.  It’s my time to look at life in the rear view mirror and wonder, “How did I miss that?”  It’s also the time of year I begin to look forward to setting some goals for the New Year.  I realize that if I set enough of them there will be less that I will break!

However, there is a new goal I have for myself in 2015 that I’ve never set before.  I’m going to actually study, or perhaps re-study, the craft of writing.  In case you don’t know, I am a writer, just not in the literary sense.  I’ve been a songwriter for years and have sought to hone the craft of lyric writing through various texts, seminars, blogs, conversations with other writers, etc. for decades.  I guess it’s common to NEVER feel like you’ve ‘arrived’ as a writer.  In fact, while attending a seminar on songwriting I presented one of my pieces, which is always like showing folks your new baby!  You’re always afraid someone will think it’s ugly! After I presented my piece, complete with original text, one of the clinicians said, “Very nice lyric” to which I said, “I struggle as a lyricist” to which he replied, “Keep struggling!”

peninkwellThat’s it!  You’ve got to keep struggling, because you never really arrive!  I can imagine that even world-renowned writers, once they finish a manuscript and it is published sit back and say, “I could have done such and such better”, or something to that effect.

While I did take the obligatory writing classes in college, as part of my non-major degree, there has always been a part of me that desires to acquire more and more expertise as it relates to good writing.

So for 2015, I’m lining up resources I already own, Natalie Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones”, Sheila Davis’ “The Craft of Lyric Writing”, and some new editions, and I’m diving into the process of discovering the ‘right way’ to write!  Or, at least beginning the process of becoming a better writer.

I look forward to reading good blogs, posts or articles as they always inspire!

Keep on writing, keep on editing and keep on learning!