Things Don’t Happen In A Vacuum: The New Year And You

27 December 2013, by A. Cedilla

Let’s start with a little visualization: Think of how movement in space influences other things sharing the same space.

A few of the most basic examples are: a circular ripple effect, from a pebble thrown into a pond, with rings moving out from the center. Ripples going downstream are affected by the condition of the stream bed and any rocks big enough to present interruptions to the flow. And for an absolute lovely visual representation of ripples in virtual space — complete with sound effects — go spend some time on Hatnote’s Listen To Wikipedia.

You act, work and live in a lattice-work of systems. Go back to those science classes and sociology lectures and remember all the various terms they used — kin groups, eco-systems, social networks, virtual communities. Think of your work environment and your work relationships. Think of where you live and your community relationship. Think, and connect-the-dots.

(Want to go wild with the visualization? Visit Hatnote’s other Wikipedia visualization projects.)

“The world is not in your books and maps. It’s out there.” – Gandalf The Grey, The Hobbit

If you’ve planned with a bit of daring, you’re going to go beyond what you know now, and you have a very good idea of what you want to happen next. That means you’re prepared to go beyond what you’re familiar with, and you’re okay with feeling lost at times, or completely out of your depth. The way it works is, information and inspiration can be found in books and maps, but the glory in true experience lies in going out and doing new things — which can have side effects of perspiration, vexation and indignation.

If you’re the nature-loving type and have a garden, or live close to nature, you’ll be familiar with the seasons and the effect they have on you and the environment. Think of living with your own garden. How do you prepare for and live with the seasons via your garden? Avid green-thumbs know that good gardens don’t sprout overnight. They need planning, good preparation, and consistent care so they can reach their full potential, whether it’s sweetly scented blooms, a riot of color, or food for your table.

Imagine a garden mentally…what do you want in it? What do you want from it?

  • Patches of peace and respite from the outside world.
  • A place to work and sow and wait and weed to see the fruits of your labor, over time.
  • A thing of your co-creation (resources, friends, family, co-workers, etc. and your care) that you can share with others.

Hopefully you’ve already laid out the ground-work for the ‘garden’ you want to have next year. You prep the ground and wait for the weather to be just right for new growth. You weed and water each day, checking to see that all those seeds and transplants that require it have their time in the sun (for examination and health reasons) and time for you to rest in the shade and get to enjoy the small peaceful moments, and regain the necessary perspective for bigger projects.

There will be problems, of course. You live in a network of relationships, remember? Even the people closest to you have their own goals, some of which may conflict with yours and cause issues…not to mention that some people simply don’t like change and the discomfort it brings. You just need to set aside quiet times and plan recharging activities so you can motivate yourself to keep going.

Out of the billions of lives in the world this one is yours. It will be hard at many points. It’s probably a bit messy in some areas and will be messy at, again, many points, but it’s yours. You don’t need to an Epic Goal, by golly. The drama can be nerve-fraying (not to mention what the costumes can do to the budget), you just need to have goals that push-pull you forward into being better.

Have things to aim for, plural — if one or two fall short, you still have the others to accomplish. Get out of your comfort zone and stretch yourself. You enlarge the zone when that happens, and when it does, your whole world shifts.

“To everything there is a season, a time to every purpose under heaven.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1

Life has its own rhythms, ones which your calendar and to-do apps can’t capture and thus plan for.
Things happen, have back-up.
Things happen, be flexible.
Unexpected things happen, have fall-back positions.

What about the things you want to happen? What are you doing to make them happen?

That’s not discounting the things you need to do which: pays the bills, keep you and yours healthy, and keep your most important relationships healthy as well. You need to note those too — but leave room for life to surprise you. Leave room to surprise yourself.

Let’s go with an image of a net. Wait…since you’re the protagonist of this journey, a superhero in your own mind, think of a web. Webs, even. How bouncy-resilient are your webs? Where are they placed to do you the most good?

Think of building bridges by your activities, your daily goals and weekly ones….where are you building to? How steady are the foundations you’re building from? Safety nets to catch you, and bridges to you, and for you, and to others — traffic goes both ways, that’s how relationships are formed and maintained– you’ll need these, so check the ones you have to see if they’re still alive and kicking. If you have only a few, better start paying attention to them now.

A whole new year is an exciting thing to contemplate, and yet you still have to live it one day at a time, just like everyone else. Cut big goals up into slabby phases, then down into nice, manageable cuts, and then grind those down into acceptable bite-sized daily chunks. That’s how we deal with the fear of big goals and get things done. That’s how we align big goals, a whole year, and you in between.

Gardens, webs, bridges and slabs aside, it’s the closing of one year and the opening of a new one. Give yourself the time to think about all the things you’ve lost and learned this year, and to appreciate what you still have and gained. You’re still here, you can change the way you look at things and do things, which can change your world utterly. And you have twelve whole new months to do it. Good luck, and Happy New Year!

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