Well, we turned another calendar page, and here we are in 2022. To paraphrase The Who song, “Won’t Get Fooled Again”: “Meet the new year, same as the old year.” Well, let’s hope not. I think we all expected this pandemic might be history by now, but we’re still figuring out the severity of Omicron and the pronunciation as well. Meet the new strain, same as the old strain … only more infectious.
There is a tendency for me to welcome the new year, and feel like it’s a clean slate to start over. With compliments to Julius Caesar and Pope Gregory XIII, my bad habits somehow get washed with the turn of the page. This year, I’ll exercise more and drink less coffee. Really. I mean it. Hey, it’s a new year, right?
I’ve shared this story before, I’m certain, but it has obviously stuck with me over several decades. So, I will share it once more. I read a survey many years ago of octogenarians who had looked back over their lives and, as if offering advice, shared these three common revelations:
- With that gift of perspective of 80-plus years of living on this planet earth, we wished we would have done more. No matter how busy we were, we still wish we had done more. Busyness, in the light of a lifetime, was a poor excuse.
- We wish we would have risked more. Why didn’t we reach out to that stranger on the airplane who was in obvious pain? Why didn’t I speak up on behalf of that friend? Why did I stick with being a physician when I really wanted to teach?
- Finally, we all wish we would have reflected more. What does this moment in time mean as all of us are gathered around the Christmas tree in the dark, watching lights sparkle? Or thinking about the chalk drawings on the driveway of those dear children?
Poet Maya Angelou always took a “day away” each year, where she spent time by herself, disconnected from the rest of the world, to think back on the year that was, and the year that will be. She spoke of how it got her head and her heart “right.”
I look forward to 2022 full of hope and promise as I always do this time of year. I also plan on doing more reflection on those things I could have done better and those moments I shall cherish forever, and hope each help me get my head and heart “right.”
I also plan on doing so with less coffee, and not sitting in my easy chair. Really. I mean it this year.
Brian Fogle is the President and CEO of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.