Happy Old Year
past and future

Merry Christmas, or whatever holiday you may be celebrating, and happy new year.

Right, that’s it for the standard last column of the year approach.

Now, I’d like to wish you happy memories of the old year… and I’d like to share a couple of tips that may help you enjoy them, even if plenty if things went wrong in 2018.

I’m not suggesting we lie to ourselves, but I think it might be a good idea to be selective about what we remember as we sum up the year, or at least give more weight to the memories that help us feel lucky.

For example, I had a lot of trouble walking for the first half of the year because of arthritis and bone spurs in the big toe joint of my left foot.

Then, in June, a surgeon chopped the spur out of my toe, sewed me up and told me to stay off my feet for two weeks.

So, as I look back, I could focus on the facts that I was hobbled for much of the year, I still have arthritis and the spurs could grow back.

Or, I could focus on the facts that my toe moves again, it doesn’t hurt when I walk, and my recovery fell at the beginning of football’s World Cup when three matches were televised every day.

I’ve gone with the second set… although I haven’t totally forgotten the first.

Not so happy memories can come in handy sometimes, especially when you can use them as a contrast to happy ones as I’ve just done.

I also think it would be a good idea to try to appreciate any good fortune that may have come to people we care about.

One of my daughters worked and travelled in Australia and Asia for the first half of the year and then started her master’s degree in a field she loves at a nearby university.

Her sister, meanwhile, worked as a development programme leader in Fiji for a month and a half before moving to Paris to study in French for one academic year.

She is finding it difficult, but she is growing in many ways and loving it as well.

And my partner is using concepts she learned during her yoga instructor’s training to help her parents, other family members, friends and people who attend her class.

I didn’t do much, but I have tried to help all of them from time to time and their efforts and successes make me happy.

Does that sound like I’m tapping into reflected glory?

I suppose I am, but the point is we can find plenty of good things to remember and enjoy from the past year… even if all of them didn’t happen directly to us.

And another point is that there is no point in focusing on memories that make us feel like victims.

Yeah, life can be unfair and bad things happen; but good things do as well, and we have choices about how we deal with them and about how we store the memories.

If we can remember 2018 as a good year, I believe we will give ourselves the best shot at having great 2019.

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