On this last day of the decade, I’m reflecting on how fast time flies. It seems like only yesterday we celebrated the new millennium and now it has been twenty years! How did that happen?
Think back to New Year’s Eve in 2009… What were you doing? Where were you? What were the biggest things in your life? What was your biggest worry? Are those same worries even on your radar today? When the new decade arrived in 2010, my main worries were focused on my career (work issues), long-term finances (retirement), and a new house under construction. None of these hit my radar today. Now, the things on my mind revolved around my 7 grandchildren (we had only one when 2010 arrived), health issues (staying active and dealing with normal aging concerns), and mundane, day-to-day items (improving my golf swing). It is amazing how a measly 10 years can change our total focus. So, as we are perched on the edge of a new year and new decade today, let me just throw out a few observations that I’m sure all of us experience and most of us might be feeling today:
- Time provides a great perspective on what is really important and what is not – Those things that were most important to us a decade – or even a year ago – are no longer that important. Things change. When you are faced with multiple priorities and a busy schedule, ask yourself, “Will this really even matter a year from now? Or, a decade from now?” We need to keep things in perspective and continually remind ourselves to focus on those things of utmost importance – everything else is secondary.
- The years tend to shift our focus from enhancing our own situation to that of others – Isn’t it amazing how, as we advance in our years or our career, our focus tends to shift to making a difference to others? Serving others matters. Someone once said, “You can’t say that you’ve had a good day unless you’ve done something for someone else that could never repay you.” What is it that you can do for someone else today or this week or this new year?
- ‘Flexibility and elasticity’ often trump ‘plans and expectations’ – No matter how well we plan, things change. Planning is good provided it helps keep you on track. But, we can never develop an over-reliance on our “plan.” Knowing that change is inevitable can help us develop the skills of flexibility and elasticity. Yes, that’s right… these are skills that we can develop and enhance. Learning to “go with the flow” and make the best of a bad situation can provide important survival skills when you are faced with adversity.
- Don’t overthink the future – Analysis paralysis is the reason many individuals fail to act when needed. The future will come whether we prepare or not… it will come whether we are ready or not… it will come whether we want it to or not. Don’t over-analyze.
- Enjoy the journey and stop focusing so much on your destination – Likewise, take time to enjoy life as it comes. I know too many people that are so focused on retirement (or some other life event) that they fail to enjoy what is happening right now. As a result, they miss those important early years of their children or special times with their spouse. Don’t miss it!
- Expect the unexpected and plan for it – Understand that something unexpected will happen in 2020. It won’t go just as you hope or plan. Knowing this can help you make mid-course adjustments, when needed. Who knows… that unexpected thing happening next year just might be the best thing that has ever happened to you!
- There is always time to love, to show kindness, and to appreciate goodness – In this new year coming up, why not re-commit to showing love, kindness, and goodness more? Why not consider doing some act of kindness every day? Why not make this a priority to your life? I can guarantee you this… when you commit to demonstrating love and kindness on an everyday basis, the payback to you will be more than you could ever imagine. Challenge me on this… see if you get more from this than you could ever give.
- Worry really is really just a lack of trust in God – Consider this example I just heard from my Pastor… What if someone you love said they love every thing about you? What if you were the best thing that had ever occurred to them? What if they loved you more than anything else? BUT… they said they couldn’t trust you. How would you feel? That is how we often treat God. We say we love Him and we want to know Him more and better. Yet, we don’t trust Him in the details of our life. Think about it. When we truly trust Him, the worry that we often experience seems to dissipate. Give Him a chance to take away our anxiety. His Word (I Peter 5:7) says, “Cast all your cares on Him because He loves you.”
Time marches on…. Today is a good day to look ahead, but let’s not forget the lessons of the past. And, above all else, cherish today because this is the only day promised to us.
Have a great end to 2019 and I hope 2020 is your best year yet!