Happy 2024 and Happy New Years! Well, almost.
Before we look at 2024, we need to take our final looks at 2023.
It’s tempting to brush off a past year and move on to something new and fresh. New and fresh often brings with it new hope. Something we tend to all itch for come December 31st. But if we don’t take time to look at what has happened, we miss an opportunity. Opportunity to see beauty, to practice gratitude, to see our being and to see some of our story unfold.
It might feel trivial or wasteful to take time to reflect on a year prior. It might seem like there’s not much benefit. However, I would argue that there is significance to this practice for three reasons.
When we take a moment to slowly reflect, we’re more apt to see past the loud parts of life.
My daughter is really into Bluey (this Bluey). There was a recent episode where Bandit (Bluey’s dad) pretends that today is his second day of life. It’s a comedic episode of Bandit breaking social norms as he’s had only one day of life experience. It ends with Bandit (now back to his normal years of life) staring out at the world and the leaves. Staring and appreciating the intricacies of nature. Not only appreciating it, but being inspired and in wonder of it as he takes in its beauty.
Reflection helps us see beauty beyond what we typically understand as beauty. As we develop an eye for beauty – in people and our world – we develop a greater appreciation for those things. Which slowly builds in a sense of wonder.
A sense of wonder that, honestly, we need in a world of hurt and pain.
Personal growth is slow work. I wish the greatest amount of patience imaginable grew overnight. But being a human doesn’t work that way. It’s a slow growth with two steps forward and, sometimes, five steps back.
Slow growth isn’t always loud or flashy and often isn’t the first thing we think of when we consider “how was 2023?” We usually lean towards the big moments of our year – the big trips we took, the big failures, the deep losses, the most fun dinners, etc.
None of which are bad, by the way. However, I think in only focusing on the big things, the doing things, we miss who we are, our being. We miss who we are becoming and how that becoming is unfolding. Or we can look over how we’ve become more patient or kind or caring. We don’t see how our love of food has grown or how a passion for crocheting developed.
Reflecting on 2023 allows us to see the personal growth in real time.
Speaking of the big moments of life, reflecting also helps us see our story more fully. Like when we only focus on the big flashy moments of our year and by doing so miss the slow growth, we can also miss the whole of our story.
The best kinds of stories to read or hear about are the ones where you get to know characters and feel connected to them. This is usually done by an author carrying their readers into characters’ highs and lows of a life. And into the mundane moments too. We get a fuller picture of our characters and feel like we can relate to them more. Especially once we get to know their whole story.
Our year is like that. It’s made up of more than these one off moments, it’s made up of all these little moments. When we take time to reflect on the little-r moments, we get to see ourselves and the story of our year more fully.
And seeing our year’s story more fully allows us to see the next year more holistically as well. Beyond just another year to set goals and accomplish them. Our year is more of a next chapter of our story of becoming. It’s the next chapter of growth, of big moments and of little-r moments.
As you begin to settle into looking ahead to 2024, would you take time to reflect on 2023? If you have a Kindred Planner, this space is already built in for you. Just turn the page to the December check-in page and the end of year reflection pages.
If you want to be able to reflect more on your year’s story for 2024 right from the beginning, check out our 2024 Kindred Planner.
Cheering you on as you reflect on 2023 and hopeful for the story you see unfolding.
With joy & gratitude,
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