Remember Y2K? It was only five years ago that many of us were
concerned about what kind of world we would encounter on
January 1, 2000. When I awoke on the morning of the New
Millennium and found the world still intact, I celebrated by going
out and buying my first computer. That purchase changed my life.
By June of that year I had learned enough about computers and the
internet that I could manage my own website.
The New Year is a
good time for self-renewal. I believe that periodic self-renewal
is essential to a meaningful and authentic life. We can either go
forward or go backward, but standing still is impossible. Each
year I try to do something that will propel my personal journey
toward greater fulfillment. This year I began by sketching out
some ideas about self-renewal.
Learning can happen in many ways. For me it is not a
matter of whether I take a college course for credit or try a new
recipe, so long as I increase my knowledge of the world and my
ability to participate in it. Learning enables me to apply a
positive focus to living. I enjoy discovering solutions to
problems and the endings to stories. The learning process
involves reflection. Under this heading I would include
the use of logic, evaluation, analysis, and constructive criticism.
The result is a feeling of self-confidence that I can make
informed decisions and find my way through our complicated world.
My quest as a writer requires a certain level of
solitude. Despite my hours on the computer, however, I thrive on
human nurture. Relationships provide an arena of connection
in which we can grow to greater maturity. Family, friends, and
neighbors give us ample opportunity to practice the skills of
empathy and harmony, perhaps as a lifelong endeavor. The
reward of developing loving relationships is good
self-esteem. When we know that we have been loved, if
only by someone at sometime, these acts of love are unforgettable.
Some people seek spirituality for its transcendent
quality. I value the spiritual life for the structure
that it imparts to our earthly existence. Spirituality provides
an alternate way to measure time. Most religions have a cycle
of holy days that divide the year into various opportunities
for self-renewal, fellowship with others, and communion with a
deity. Some of this structure is rooted in tradition as
well as in theology. Although repetitive, these annual traditions
are adaptable to whatever my needs are at the moment. Within the
security of a familiar tradition I can process new growth.
We can all be creative in daily tasks. Some people
will excel in the fine arts, but each of us can express our
uniqueness in the things we do every day. To be creative
means to have an awareness of our individual style and to
be able to use this style deliberately and constructively.
Creativity also involves risk. The creative product opens
the individual to rejection. Society does not always appreciate
creative people. Creativity demands internal conviction and
The concept of patriotism involves our relationship
to our nation and to other citizens. Without patriotism there is
no national survival. The pursuit of knowledge and
self-expression, with equality for all, depends on the protection
of our rights and values as a nation. Taking pride in a
national identity is a source of empowerment. Since September
11th, I have come to regard patriotism as a sort of free-floating
psychosocial stage of development that we all must master at some
point in our life. Patriotism requires courage, personally
and nationally, to face enemies and to face the reality that
enemies do exist.
It always helps me to clear my mind if I get out of
the house (or office) and take a walk. The sensuousness of
nature, the colors and fragrances, freshens my labored intellect.
If you live or work in an unsafe area, even tending to some indoor
potted plants can keep you close to the earth. Taking a walk
also provides a fair amount of exercise. Whether
strolling through a park in spring or trampling through snow in
winter, it is a way to stay physically active. An appreciation of
nature promotes an ecological perspective on life. In
other words, we share this earth with the plants and animals.
not necessarily require money. Nor does it have to drastically
alter life. It does, however, require effort. It is an
investment in oneself. Each step forward prevents a lapse
backward into self-decay. Have a Happy New Year.
Until we meet