New Year’s Day and the Hero’s Decision. No other day of the year exemplifies the hero’s decision the way that New Year’s Day does. People come to the new year full of hope, wishful thinking, determination and the desire to change their circumstance. Many want to lose weight. Others want to find themselves in a relationship. More want have more money, read more books, create more works of art, build more bridges, dig more fence post holes, sew more stitches, save more time, rescue more kittens, throw out less trash, recycle more, compost more, change their oil more regularly, rotate the cans on the shelf, finally clear the clutter…
New Year’s Day As a New Beginning
Every story starts with a beginning. New Year’s Day draws a line. The old year, and all of its mistakes and glories, is over. Today, everything starts fresh.
Each of us is the hero of our own story. Sometimes these stories are inspiring:
Malala Yousafzai who is a young Pakistani woman who was shot in the face. She is an activist for the education of women and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate.
Daryl Davis who is a blues musician who befriends members of the Ku Klux Klan. He is a black man and his message of friendship has caused approximately 200 Klansmen to give up their robes.
Ron Finley who is a self-styled gangsta gardener in South Central Los Angeles creating food in a food desert.
Joanne Rowling who as a single mom living on benefits wrote the Harry Potter series.
Geoff Lawton a permaculturist who has brought green growth to the Wadi Rum desert in Jordan.
While these stories make the news and may inspire us, our everyday existence defines our personal stories. These may not be dramatic, but they are ours and only we know what effort they require. We bring home a paycheck and make certain the bills are paid. Conquering the laundry mountain at the end of the bed is no small thing. We finally learn how to make a decent gluten free loaf of bread. We read for an hour or exercise for 30 minutes every day. All of these achievements start with a thought and a decision. And each New Year’s Day can start a new chapter or a whole new story.
Every Moment A Decision
Heroes make decisions. And each of us is making decisions at every moment whether they are conscious decisions or unconscious decisions. It is very easy to bump along, go to the job that pays the bills, flick through the channels on the television every night, eat the pre-packaged food advertised as convenient, win social approval, read the best sellers, and go about life like floating down a river in an inner tube. It can be pleasant. And this is fine if you are happy and your purpose is to live life in this manner. Actually, there is much to be grateful for in this expression of life. And your life is your story.
However, if you are living your life as described in the previous paragraph and it is not a conscious decision or you have no real purpose of your own, it is quite easy to have your life given over to someone else’s aim. You can be manipulated for all sorts of tomfoolery, skullduggery, and fiendishness.
In addition, life may be lived like a leaf on the wind. If the wind blows gentle and the sun shines warm, it’s a beautiful day. Perhaps someone paid you a compliment or payday arrived. But what about when the wind blows chill, like -15 degrees Fahrenheit? Or it is raining? What about when you are fired from the bump along job? And the roof is leaking? And you burned your grilled cheese after spilling coffee on your white shirt? Do you feel lost?
Our Own Hero
At moments of failure, we learn who we are. We have to fail to be able to dig deep within ourselves and find meaning—how badly we want something, how much an aspect of living is important to us, who is important to us, how we will express ourselves, and what the story of our lives will be. The only way to be aware/awake is to ask questions:
- Who am I? How am I unique?
- What will be my epitaph? What will I be remembered for?
- How do I want to contribute to the world?
- How will I express myself?
- Who is important to me?
- What will I fight for?
- What do I love?
- How can I express love?
- What is my “why”?
We, as heroes, make the decisions that start our journeys. What journey will you be on in 2018? How will you make the year your best ever?