BY LES McCARTHY
January 1, 2015
HAPPY NEW YEAR…2015! It seems just like yesterday that it was 2014!
No other three little words bear such potential and promise as HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Well, none other than…Seize the Day! Go For It! You Look Mahvelous! I’m So Sorry. Let’s Get Married! I Love You!
I stand corrected! When you think about it, there are a LOT of powerful three words phrases!
However, HAPPY NEW YEAR—the image it brings to mind is one of newness and rebirth (in a multitude of ways). It’s the basic “do-over” and we get to do it EVERY YEAR!
The New Year lies before us like a pasture after a heavy snowfall, a blank page, an empty canvas, a fresh lump of clay, a package of yeast—you get the picture. The year is new and open and ripe with possibilities and potential. It makes all those above sayings come to mind…along with—Be the Change! Just Do It! Carpe Diem!
And, carpe means to pluck and doesn’t that sound luscious? Like plucking a ripe fruit? The year is ours to do just that! Carpe Diem!
So, now that it’s here—what do we want to do with it? A whole year is ours, again, hopefully—all twelve months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8760 hours, 525,600 minutes or 31,536,000 seconds.
What shall we do with all that time?
If you are like 45% of the country’s population you make resolutions. And if you are like the majority of those people you have infrequent success! So, perhaps (myself included) we are going about this all wrong.
Resolutions, according to Merriam-Webster, are acts of solving problems. That sounds pretty negative to me. Why is life—and what we do with it—a problem?
Instead of finding things to resolve or change, like losing weight or quitting a habit, maybe we need to give our thinking a positive twist and shake things up a bit. We’ll get the end result—a more healthful life, a more stable financial outlook, pride in our work, stronger relationships, a new artistic outlet—but we can acquire those things in a better way, perhaps, than how we’ve tried in the past.
Instead of resolutions—maybe we can think of giving ourselves challenges, or goals, or the allowance to try something new. I don’t want to live by what I should do;I’d rather see each day as a chance to move my life forward…to make that difference, to be that change, to think global and act local…all while allowing myself to grow.
And if I “fail”? Big deal!
I’ve tried something new and I’m failing forward. And I’ll try something else!
Want to lose weight and/or get more fit? Instead of focusing on deprivation and calorie-counting or cutting things out of your life (which is never fun and has never worked for me!) maybe, just maybe, it would be better (and certainly more fun) to add something new to it…like taking a Pilates or Yoga class, or walking along the miles and miles of beaches that are outside our back doors here on the island. Join a gym, join a dance group, join a kayaking club. You’re bound to lose some weight and get more fit. Seize the Day!
Improved circulation is a benefit from not just physical activity but from laughing, too…so, why not join some group that does laughter classes? Or join an improve group? There are such things! Maybe this is the year you find your inner artist…take a class, pick up a brush, make some jewelry, cook like Julia, write those poems! Go For It!
Healthful living isn’t just kicking up the physical aspect of your daily life…it’s nurturing the mental, spiritual, and emotional sides, too. Try replacing some of your daily intake (consumption of any substance you want to limit or stop) with something else, buy a new vegetable at the grocery, pick up some lentils, join a worship service, plant a garden, establish a routine of a walk after dinner with a friend or loved one, meditate. All good things for your body and soul.
On Whidbey—wonderful, wonderful Whidbey— there is a plethora of new things to try, see, do, join, accomplish, taste, visit, experience—all here on the island—all mere moments from home; things we can do solo or with our neighbors and soon-to-be new friends.
Not quite sure what you want to do or where to start? Pick up a local Island County guide and get started. And then check in with Whidbey Life Magazine to see what is going on around the island. There are groups that discuss books, knit together, work on stained glass, critique writing, host wine pairings. There are jam sessions and sing-alongs, theater and hiking groups, whale and bird watchers, beach combers, boat builders, dancers, musicians, gourmet diners, pottery throwers…and the lists go on and on and on.
I’ve said it before…Whidbey is like a fabulous Day Camp for adults (and kids, too)…there is just SO MUCH to do here!
I think my only resolution this year will be not to make resolutions. And, instead, vow to explore what this lovely island has to offer. I think everyone benefits when they stretch themselves a bit…not just physically, but mentality, too and it’s time to do just that. Brush off the old year and get on with the new. Organize. Support. Volunteer. Grow. Learn.
So, let’s stretch our bodies and our minds and let’s get out and walk some of the 196 miles of shoreline in Island County and perhaps we’ll see the orcas, gray whales and pairs of bald eagles that share this gorgeous natural area with us.
Let’s learn something new! Spend an hour or more at one of the local libraries or local book shops and pick up some books on something that you’ve been meaning to look into more closely. Perhaps you’ve been dreaming of wine making. Read up and then go visit all the local wineries (there are nine at last count).
Or maybe you have a nose for coffee? Read up on Juan Valdez and then go tour the (four) coffee roasters on the island that annually roast nearly 800,000 pounds of coffee. Want to learn more about mussels? You’ve come to the right island as over 2,000,000 pounds of Penn Cove Mussels are grown and harvested each year and are readily available in our many restaurants and grocery stores!
As the quote from Etienne de Grellet states, “I shall pass this way but once…Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” So, grab this year by the horns and instead of saying we are going to “do something”…be specific. Spell it out. Take a leap and sign up for that class in glass blowing or piano, painting or writing. You might be surprised at what comes out at the other end of that instrument!
Don’t listen to the voices in your head that say you can’t do it. Prove them wrong! Give something new a try!
However, that said, not quite ready to start dabbling on a canvas or tickling the ivories quite yet? How about easing in and going to a gallery or special exhibit and learning about a new artist or medium or going to one of the many venues around the island that showcase musicians on a steady and very regular basis.
And thinking you need someone along for the ride to share your walks and life with? Adopt a pet! You’ll both benefit! Or are you feeling like you need to give back? There are hundreds of places that would love to have your volunteering spirit (time, expertise and/or financial backing)!
So, here we are…the New Year is ahead of us just waiting for us to do something with it! There are no guarantees in life, so make each day special. Mae West said, “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” So, make each day count. Go to bed at the end of each day knowing you made a difference—however small. That smile you shared with that person in line might have made their day.
If you don’t love what you do—perhaps now is the time to change that. Or at least start taking those baby steps towards that goal. What you think about, you bring about. So, Go For It! Just Do It! Seize the Day!
As for me, I’m going to go seize the year…Carpe Noctem … one glorious day at a time on and around this beautiful and bountiful rock that is our home. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Les McCarthy is an author, tutor, life coach, and IPPY bronze medalist for her yearly “Healthy Living ~ Healthy Life: 365 Days of Nutrition and Health for the Family” calendars. She is a recent transplant to the island and is busy loving every glorious moment while tending to the needs of her geriatric fur factory and local deer, squirrels and slugs.
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Having taken three years of Latin eons ago, Carpe Noctem is seize the night I think, and Carpe Annum is seize the year. I was encouraged by your blog, and definitely plan to do both.