The start of a new year offers us a chance to begin anew

I often find myself thinking of life as a story, our story, and one that in many ways, we get to write the way we want. Everyone is living his or her own story, one with varying number of chapters, each with its own theme. The trouble is, sometimes we get stuck in one chapter or perhaps even on one page. The new year offers us all a chance to start writing if not a new chapter, then at least a new page.

For so many people 2022 has been a year of ups and downs, peaks and valleys. Many of us find ourselves wondering if we ever will see and end to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us have suffered heartbreak. Many of us have seen either a change in or loss of employment. Many of us have lost loved ones. We can choose to stay stuck in these painful chapters, or we can choose to start writing a new one. We can take steps to own our story by making sure that we are the authors we want to be.

The new year affords an opportunity to begin anew; it’s a fresh start. Yes, some of what transpired in the last 12 months may stick with us for a while but we can choose to let go what we are able and to focus our attention on moving forward. We can choose to remain who we were in 2022 or we can choose to think about who we want to be in 2023.

When we think about being the authors of our own lives, we can consider what kind of book we want to write. Should it be an adventure? A romance? A mystery? Should it be some combination of genres? Being the author of your own story gives you the opportunity to think about how you want that story to read. Being the author of your own story gives you the opportunity to take control of those things you can and to let go of those things you cannot. What do you want your story to sound like?

One of the best things of ringing in a new year is that turning the page gives us reason to take stock of how the story is shaping up so far. Do you like the way things are going or would you like to make some changes moving forward? If so, in what way do you want to change? What steps might you be able to take to make those changes happen?

Perhaps you would like 2023 to be the year of you. Perhaps that means taking time to make yourself a priority on occasion. That might mean practicing self-care with more frequency or doing so in a way that brings you more pleasure by engaging in healthy activities. Perhaps that means learning a new language (perhaps the language of self-love?) or learning a new craft. Perhaps that means spending more time with people who lift you up and/or setting boundaries with those your relationship is more challenging.

Perhaps 2023 is the year you give back to your community, your village, your world. Perhaps that means becoming involved in a non-violent cause or action that you support. Perhaps that means considering running for office. Perhaps that means volunteering for your local animal shelter or domestic violence or woman’s shelter. Perhaps that means tutoring or teaching music lessons.

Whatever you decide you want 2023 to look, sound and feel like, consider how it might impact your unique story. Think about what you want this next chapter to sound like and then consider steps you might take to move in that direction. Your story is up to you. You have the power to write the next chapter in a way that sounds good to you.

~ Karri Christiansen, MSW, LSW, CADC, CCTP

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