GOOD & HAPPY NEW YEARS DAY of 2016! It takes a few days to unwind from the climactic bridge between the old year to the new year and now I’m all unwound and ready to work this year of 2016. As any writer knows: every year is a new start to get one into gear and find ways to improve upon one’s skills, passion, and integrity in one’s work. Whatever your profession and as long as you can be cognizant of the phases of each year, you can learn to manipulate progress like a magnet corporate CEO of your own life.
In general, living your own life is not a bungle of experiences all your own, to be ignored and write off as meaningless, but a series of signals and signifiers, patterns and symbols that can be recognized by each of us according to our mental, intellectual or situational capacity. This reference I take from the famous scientist, Ferdinand de Saussure, who generalized and Charles Sanders Peirce who exclaimed signs and meanings like this: “The process, called semiosis, is ….what defines sign, object, and interpretant in general (MS 404 of 1894, Essential Peirce v. 2, pp. 4–10).” Understanding these concepts in a general sense can improve our personal existence and progress intellectually, which in turn improves our overall day to day living.
Every year we go through phases! Much like nature goes through seasons, we also go through seasons. While of course “the timing and characteristics of the seasons depends upon the location on Earth” (http://www.livescience.com/25202-seasons.html), there is still a general structure in signs of life, and with humans, who are different culturally, socially, spiritually, and intellectually, we can vary the outcomes, but much of the same principal can be analyzed generally.
Hence, we are much like the seasons in our own humanity. We go through a cycle of phases of mental, emotional, physical and spiritual changes. We assess all things in the year prior, and decide whether or not we accomplished those aspirations of the year prior to the prior, sometimes admitting that we had very little success. When that happens, we might analyze what we could have done to achieve better results, and plan how we can change the rules of the game to achieve better results this time around.
I am fascinated by the cyclical seasons within one year, through which we all tend to take ourselves through on an emotional roller coaster without ever a clue that it is actually happening. There are genuine emotions experienced from year to year to which we do not give value in itself, especially because we take for granted those emotions that return each year throughout our lives.
For, with or without success regarding our resolutions, we work through successfully these emotions that take us to another year of life. So hats off to all living beings, because being successful throughout our lives in the cycle of life itself is its own feat; we all can pat ourselves on the back that we’ve come this far.
No one ever said living was easy. But people have discovered routes of progression with greater ease through understanding processes. Therefore, we must first realize this cycle in order to manipulate it. I began to wonder if there could be some value in the emotional journey itself; then, I began to wonder if we could use it to our advantage.
I have come to the conclusion that we can, and if we do, we will experience a more productive, more satisfying journey through life, traveling through a backdrop of general emotions that could easily be used to propel us toward things we want to accomplish. Thus, I came up with 7 Emotional Moments within a year that we experience over and over again. If we understand this it can be used to help us manipulate our journey into a more satisfying and successful life overall. But first, it would help us to become cognizant of our emotional roller coaster while going through a year’s cycle.
1) Loss: After the new year–any year–we experience a sense of loss. Whether you can admit this or not, the fact remains, there is a certain blah that follows the hype of the new year, which could be compared to the feelings you feel after a wonderful vacation, or something that brought you such elation that there was nowhere else to go but down. That feeling is the sense of loss. It is not unlike any other loss, as when we lose a friend, a pet, a job. We lose a year, and we mourn it. We just don’t recognize it as a loss. This is why when the new year begins there is a kind of emptiness that stirs about us for a time. Our goal to come, is to shorten that time we spend mourning, but this subject is for another article.
2) Acceptance: Shortly thereafter, between the first to the third week, we begin to sense the realization that we are truly starting over. We shake off the mourning and realize that we made promises to ourselves and others last year and now it is a new year and another chance to begin again, so we accept that the year prior is gone, and we come out slowly perhaps, but nonetheless, we come out of mourning. It is time that we start to realize that the prior year has gone and there is not a change we can make to it, but accept that we did our best then.
But that was then, and this is now. NOW, we either make a plan to complete those half-baked resolutions or we work on new strategies that supersede those issues, due to life changes. A sense of picking up where we left off, or lifting the pen and creating again a new plan, is slowly coming into fruition, and our acceptance of it. Any way you look at it, your sense of loss is changing into something else.
3) Evaluation: Now we begin to turn our vision from the past year and speculate the year ahead of us because in evaluating the past year we can begin to look toward the future, defining what went wrong, and determining what can be changed to create a better outcome. That cannot happen though until we evaluate that past year, and that can only happen when loss and mourning is out of the way, we accept the new start, and now we can evaluate the game plan. Once you are finished accepting all the struggles, the failures, and acknowledging the successes, the progress, and so forth, hope starts to revive and now you are fully assessing your overall goals, objectives, and game plan. Now you are evaluating your life’s purpose.
4) Awakening: Suddenly, we’ve come out of our stupor of loss and recuperative phase of acceptance, evaluated the game plan and looking onward toward our options, opportunities, and pathways to new starts, we find ourselves exploding with possibilities. At this juncture we begin to accelerate into our journey because we are fully awake and at full throttle. Now we’re ready to ride, and we begin to put our game plan into motion. Now, we are entering the flying stage of our year.
5) Realignment: While we are gauging our speed and height like a pilot, we begin to zero-in on our new choices, our views of things, mapping where we define and redefine our past history into a phase of transfer, transcendence and adjustment to set ourselves toward a new path into the new map of invention we’ve created during evaluation and awakening periods. For a short time, we are sailing. But here is a caveat at this point: sometimes it is right about this time we forget we’re flying. We put ourselves on autopilot and coast without consequences, until we sense a position for landing.
6) Anticipation: while we are realigned and working toward new goals and moving forward we begin to descend, something or someone is following us in the friendly skies. Depending upon what ground you’ve covered you may not feel it a positive following, or we are coming close to an end of coasting and need to check our gauges. It is not something definable at this point, we just know we are inspired to work harder, move faster, get the job done with a bit more precision to ensure we are on the right path and at the right timeframe.
7) Climax: Finally, we see the target: the end of the year. We begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, only we see two lights in the tunnel: the light behind us that is creating the anticipation, and now, anxiety. Although we also see the light at the end of the tunnel before us, we are gauging by comparison, the light we have left, which makes us not give that much attention to the light before us, (and which is where awakening comes in later in the next year).
The light behind us is a reminder that we are leaving a whole cycle, and that we are coming to another cycle, creating a feeling of racing against time to resolve those goals we’ve promised ourselves we would finish. The end of year social events which threatens our industrious spirit and encourages complacency begins to raise our emotions that a loss is coming, for which we cannot afford to allow, for we are quickly being catapulted into the next new year.
It is imperative to us that we can show we have progressed from the year prior, which is why we experience the anticipation and anxiety at this point. Now, we come to the close of what was once the new year (2016), and now we will begin again the new year (2017), so we cannot help but feel the loss creeping up.
It doesn’t have to be a sad ending or anxious beginning; really. It is what we know as the cycle of life.
The circle of life, the never-ending progress of existence may also be embraced in the journey . We, like seasons, go on. Like flowers, some of us die after we’ve spent the beauty and creativity of ourselves throughout our seasons, and now the mantle is handed over to the young. There is a beauty in the process, sometimes just as much, if not more, than the actual event of completion.
Next month, I’ll talk about this cycle of life from the vantage point of a Writer. How should we as Writers view the cycle of life, and the seasons of our own personal space and time?
TO love is to Live,
Lydia Nolan, M. Ed.
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