New Year’s resolutions are a little weird, and arbitrary

New Year’s resolutions are a little weird. We pick this convenient change from one year to the next, and declare our intentions to do more or better.

I’m not sure that we give much thought to why we pick this one date as the time for this rededication to some form of self-improvement. New Year’s Day has had much less significance to me in recent years for a couple reasons.

For one thing, it’s not the new year in Israel tomorrow. We use the Hebrew calendar for official stuff, and our new year was in September this year.

A more personal reason why 1 January isn’t much more than Tuesday, a regular working day, to me is because there’s another day that’s a more meaningful day for a renewed sense of self-improvement – my birthday!

Sure, on 1 January, the year increments. Other than that, what’s the personal significance of the day?

I see my birthday as a celebration of my continued existence, and a reminder that I have yet another year behind me, and fewer ahead of me.

With that comes the realisation that I have fewer opportunities to make a difference, be a better parent, husband, friend, sibling, son, and so on. The time I have left is more precious, at the very least because there’s less of it.

I’m generally not conscious of this fact during the year because I’m so caught up in my daily dramas and busy work. My birthday is a convenient time to pause, look back, ahead, and at what I have, and think about what’s really important to me.

So, as 2018 draws to a close, I can’t help but think that it’s really just a Monday night, and I still need to be up at 5:30 tomorrow for an early shift.

Create a 2015 you will want to remember

2014 has turned out to be a pretty challenging year and not necessarily in a happy way. I was about to say “not in a good way” but you have a choice how to view your challenges in your life. You can see them as curses sent to make you miserable or mountains to climb so you can learn something new; experience something better or just get to the other side.

I’ve had a pretty challenging 2014 and it wasn’t always easy to adopt a positive approach to my challenges but, ultimately, you have to make a choice. Either you tackle those challenges in some way or you let them determine how you will experience your life at that time. I read an inspiring post the other night titled “How to Ruin Your Life (Without Even Noticing That You Are)” which includes this cautionary note:

You ruin your life by letting your past govern it. It is common for certain things in life to happen to you. There will be heartbreak, confusion, days where you feel like you aren’t special or purposeful. There are moments that will stay with you, words that will stick. You cannot let these define you – they were simply moments, they were simply words. If you allow for every negative event in your life to outline how you view yourself, you will view the world around you negatively.

I have no idea what awaits me in 2015. I am certain I will face more challenges and my decisions about those challenges will probably vary. I do know that I will begin 2015 in a very different place (literally and figuratively) and I am very grateful about that. I have my wife and children with me and I am living in an amazing country with so much to offer us. The only choice I really have is to keep moving forward (or, like Dory says, “just keep swimming”) and to make better decisions about my future challenges.

Have a happy new year. Create a 2015 you will want to remember and not a year you will be glad to see the end of.

Shana Tovah Umetukah

We wish all our friends and family a safe and enjoyable Rosh Hashanah and a meaningful Fast

May you have an easy Fast
May you have an easy Fast