Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New Year's Eve ... a Six Month Retropestive

It's been six months since New Year's Eve, so I thought this would be a good time to post a piece that I sent to some friends back then.

I was fortunate to spend time with an enigmatic young man named Thomas
during a very special period of my life. It was a time of change, growth,
and overcoming challenges for me.

Thomas taught me many things during our days together, and this time of
year reminds me of one particular interaction we had.

"Now that you are becoming more aware," Thomas said, "you need to begin to
set goals for yourself so you don't lose the momentum you have built."

"Like New Year's resolutions?" I asked.

"That's an interesting idea," he smirked. "Let's do that."

By then I was used to his cryptic responses, so I knew something was up
because of the way his eyes sparkled as he let out an impish laugh.

"Tonight, make two lists," Thomas continued. "The first is a list of all
the New Year's resolutions you WANT to keep, and the second is a list of all
the New Year's resolutions you WILL keep. Write the WANT List first, and
when you have exhausted all of your ideas, then write the second list on
another sheet of paper."

I went home and spent several days working on the two lists. The WANT List
felt overwhelming at first, but after a while I got into writing all the
things I had always wanted to do if the burdens of life hadn't gotten in the
way. After nearly an hour, the list swelled to fill the entire page and
contained nearly all of my ideas of an ideal life. The second list was much
easier, and I was able to quickly commit ten practical resolutions that I
felt would be both realistic and helpful.

The next time I saw Thomas, he said "Tell me about your two lists" as the
familiar smirk crept onto his face.

"The first list contains all the things I SHOULD do if I completely changed
my life to be the person I always wanted to be. The second list contains all
the things I COULD do by accepting my current life, and taking realistic
steps towards the life I want to lead."

"Let me see the second list," he said.

I handed him the second list, and without even looking at it, he ripped the
paper into tiny pieces and threw it in the nearby trash. His disregard for
the effort I had put into the list annoyed me at first, but after I calmed
down I began to think about the first list in a different light. In my
heart, I knew the second list was a cop out, and the first list was the only
one that really mattered.

"And now, the first list."

I handed him the first list and held his gaze for several seconds, waiting
for him to begin reading the page. After an unusually long silence, he began
to crumple the paper into a ball and once again tossed it into the trash
without looking at it.

"What did you do that for?!" I couldn't hide my anger any longer.

Thomas began to speak in a quiet and assured voice. "What you SHOULD or
COULD do with your life no longer matters. The only thing that matters, from
this day forward, is what you MUST do."

He then drew a folded piece of paper from his back pocket and handed it to

I opened it carefully, and found a single word floating in the middle of
the white page:


And so, I offer you my love and I wish for the new year to bring you a
loving life of quiet balance as you encounter each new day.

As for me, I'll be looking back at this past year with fondness and
thankless for having you in my life.

With love & light,


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