Here we are on the cusp of a new year! Didn’t 2015 fly by fast?
Like many people, I find myself feeling a little reflective at year’s end as I look back and a little curious as I look forward. When I think about the year that has been I recall all the highs and lows, the successes and failures, the progress or lack thereof where some things are concerned. On balance, it has been a pretty good year for me without any spectacular happenings. But, as anyone who has experienced significant lows will tell you, uneventful is underrated. Mostly I just feel grateful for my family, for great friends and for all the good things and experiences that have come my way.
It seems natural too, to contemplate the coming year with that sense of curiosity I mentioned as we wonder what might happen in 2016. I’m hoping to launch my new novel in the first quarter of the year and have every intention of starting to write another not long after that. I’m hoping to eat well, work hard and continue to enjoy my family and friends.
What strikes me most about the end of an old year and the start of a new is how precious these new starts are. After all, tomorrow is really just another day and only takes on a special significance because of our imposed calendar. Yet the chance to start afresh can be motivating and freeing. Many people embrace the idea of making a New Year’s resolution (although according to some research only 8% of these people will keep this resolution) while others are just pleased to draw a veil over the previous twelve months and start with the proverbial clean slate at the outset of the next twelve. The author in me feels there must be some new characters in this concept somewhere!
Whatever your situation, I wish you all the very best for a wonderful 2016.
We have a young German girl staying with us at the moment. She’s the daughter of an old friend who has come to live with us for two months over the summer. It’s interesting to observe her reactions to being in a new country, especially one so different from her own. She’s been enchanted by the New Zealand scenery, amazed at the fact that our housing is so diverse and has been exposed to all sorts of foods, ideas and ways of living quite foreign to that of her own experience.
What’s struck me about watching her response to all that newness is the power of one facet of human behaviour: comparison. It’s made me realise how we as a species constantly compare things. Am I familiar with this? If not, do I understand it? If I understand it, does it have merit? Is this a better way to do things than the way I'm used to? Does it make sense? Such questions lead us to continuously weighing things up against what we already know and making judgements accordingly.
Watching this has made me realise that we might not actually be capable of looking at things with fresh eyes. Our past experience, and even our cumulative prejudices or preferences, really does make that next to impossible. And in a way, that seems a bit sad, even though comparison helps us make decisions and improvements in life. It's made me wonder how we can be more open to the new, without being influenced by the old.
As an author, I often get asked which of my four novels I like the best. I usually respond by saying that it's a bit like asking a person to choose which of their children they like best. My response to this question is often followed up by a comment telling me which one that person likes best, yet more comparison. It’s all such an intrinsic part of life that we don’t realise we’re even doing it.
What do you think? Can you truly have fresh perspective in light of the power of comparison? And how do we bring a newness of thinking to our lives in order to embrace that which lies outside of our own current comprehension?
Let me know what you think!
Coming soon. . .