Four Decisions for a Prosperous New Year
What if we approached the New Year in the way a bride approaches her wedding day? We would not have to worry ourselves with well-intentioned New Year resolutions. Instead, we’d simply decide on four things to take into the new year—“something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.”
Most of us are familiar with this traditional English wedding rhyme that dates to the nineteenth century. In its shortened contemporary version (“and a sixpence in her shoe” is seldom used), the rhyme contains the clues to the “four good-luck objects…a bride should include somewhere in her wedding outfit or carry with her on her wedding day” so that she can have a long and happy marriage.
Now I don’t much believe in luck—except for the kind that happens when preparation meets opportunity —but I do believe this rhyme offers older adults a new approach to having a prosperous New Year.
Let me be clear: New Year resolutions are fine and, at points in our life, necessary. G. K. Chesterton is right: “Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.” New Year resolutions give us the sense of starting life anew. But surely you would agree that after five or more decades of the practice, New Year resolutions lose their, shall we say, je ne sais quoi.
So here I am to propose that we welcome the new year not with resolutions but with something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.
“Something old”? Yes, that would be you. Something old represents continuity. The item chosen should symbolize “family, past, and traditions.” There is no greater symbol of continuity than older adults. You are the repository of your family’s best traditions and stories and values that can shape the future of your generations. So celebrate your life this new year. Be convinced of your intrinsic value. And be mindful of how valuable you are to your family, your church, your social circles, and your community. I heard a preacher say that older adults are especially important to children because, by connecting children to their history, they can give children a positive identity, make them aware of their potential, and help them shape a vision for their life. As an older adult, you have value, unique value: celebrate you!
“Something new”? Why something new? To point to optimism for the future, that there is life ahead. For the bride, the new object selected is expected to be a symbol of fertility. For others, this object should be evidence that we believe we still have a lot of living to do. So what single new thing can you do in 2020 that will serve notice that you believe you still have a vibrant future? Will you start a post-retirement career? Return to school or university? Begin a volunteer project? Do something new in 2020 that shouts to your world that you plan to “live until you die,” as my grandmother used to say.
“Something borrowed”? Yes, other than money. The bride or couple would borrow something from a friend or relative to bring them good luck. They couldn’t be just any friend or relative; they had to be a friend or relative who was happily married, so that their happiness would pass to the new bride or couple.
We were exposed to a lot of new information in 2019, and we will continue to be in this age of information technology. So we must be discriminatory in the information we allow to shape our life. Some information will be useful, some of it should be forgotten, and some we should incorporate into our wisdom pool. What are some of the things you learned in 2019 that would enhance your life in 2020 and beyond?
Through this blog I have tried to emphasize several lessons to help us maintain health and wellness as we age:
- Keep moving! The body was made to move.
- Be mindful.
- Be grateful and express gratitude.
- Eat well. Remember why you eat: for a strong body, sharp mind, and the energy to lead an active lifestyle.
- Pray daily, laugh often.
- Embrace the gifts of God: Hope, Peace, Joy and Love
- Expect a miracle every day.
Borrow these and other bits of wisdom of the ages for a healthy and lively lifestyle in 2020.
“Something blue”? According to Western tradition, the color blue represents love, purity and fidelity, “three key qualities for a solid marriage.” Love is the essential virtue in all relationships. It is the “blue” that holds relationships together, platonic and romantic. This “blue” also comes in another color; it’s called forgiveness. Without forgiveness, love cannot work, it cannot take hold and do its binding job. Let love and forgiveness be your something blue in 2020.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the color blue also represents the winter season This is a season of retirement, when nature rests, yet she carries out her deepest inner work—conserving, healing, relaxation, exploration, trust, calmness. Add rest to your something blue in 2020 and find fresh water for your soul. Connect and be.
Don’t frustrate yourself with New Year resolutions this time. Make four key decisions, instead.
- I will celebrate my life in 2020, because I matter.
- I will do something new in 2020 that shouts to your world that I plan to “live until I die!”
- I will apply all the wise things I’ve learned recently to live a healthier life in 2020.
- I will love and forgive, connect with myself and others and be in 2020.
Happy New Year!
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