a brave new year


sun beams

Change is in the air. A new year has dawned, we have turned our backs on regret and missed opportunity, and now we step forward into the future. At least, that’s our intention.

The future, of course, is always here in front of us, but sometimes it turns out to be just the past again, recycled and wearing new clothes. We think we are open to new possibility, but we don’t notice how our blinders of habit and prejudice show us only what we expect or want to see.

I have been reading Stuart McLean’s The Vinyl Cafe Notebooks, which I received for Christmas, and I was caught by an observation he makes about change. He describes how as a boy, for no particular reason, he stopped eating eggs, and “as is the way with these things, behaviour became belief, and eventually I came to believe I hated eggs.” Then someone he admired mentioned how much they liked fried eggs, and Stuart discovered he liked them too. He started eating eggs again, just like that. He concludes: “We have the desire to change hardwired into our systems. And maybe our capacity is greater than we think. All it takes is a little courage…”

If we think of change as something small, something simple and everyday like that egg, then it doesn’t seem so difficult. Old habits die hard, but they might just melt away when we are inspired to do something new or different. May we all have that little bit of courage we need as we step into the brave new year.

Photo taken on December 7, 2009

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10 thoughts on “a brave new year

  1. What an interesting story! I find that when I step outside my comfort zone, and do something that I’ve never done before, or didn’t think it would work, but try anyway, and it works out – it’s exhilarating! Who knows what I’ll try next?!

    Great photo, BTW – love the little pieces of ice clinging to the very end of the branch!

    • “Exhilarating” — that’s the feeling of freedom, letting go, learning something new and exciting — I think it should be the Official Word of 2011. Thanks, Holly!

  2. I was thinking exactly along those lines today.

    Funny about the egg — I had the very same experience about potato salad (!) as a young person. Decided, for no good reason at all, that I didn’t like it. Years later, I had it anyway at one point, and realized I loved it … still do.

    So yes … it’s good to step outside of one’s comfort zone 🙂

    • That’s funny that you have a food story, too, Rebekah! I think we all probably have an egg or potato salad lesson in us somewhere… I know there are certainly a lot of foods I like now that I would never have touched as a child (I even learned to like tea!), and what could be a more ingrained habit than the things we eat?

  3. Brave and letting go – they definitely go together. 🙂 I
    am using the morning hours of this New Year to put my thoughts and
    feelings into perspective, and feeling very encouraged and “gasp”
    POSITIVE about what 2011 will bring. Here’s hoping that your New
    Year is filled with wonderous possibility

    • Thank you for your positive thoughts, Monica! You have reminded me of what a gift it is to receive encouragement from other people — we do have the power to make someone’s day, so why not someone’s year? What a wonderful year 2011 would be if everyone resolved to encourage each other!

    • Thanks, Sheridan! The word “batik” immediately reminded me of the wonderful hanging my aunt made for me, a cat on a pink background (to go with my pink bedroom and pink shag carpet)… I’m sure I still have it somewhere.

  4. I’m a bit on the rigid side, and change comes hard to me. That said, last year, when I retired, I knew that I had one of the biggest changes in my life to face, and that I had better hit it head on. That’s why I started my blog, among other things.

    I spent some time looking back today, and I decided that I have done pretty well. Life took me in a couple of directions that I didn’t foresee a year ago, and I like it. Now, onward to more exciting things to do and see.

    • I think that change does get harder for all of us as we get older, Louise — I’m certainly tired of moving and changing careers, that’s for sure. But I know that a good attitude can really make a difference: An Exciting New Adventure sounds much more inviting than Change Looming on the Horizon. It’s encouraging to hear that the changes you’ve made have been good ones. Bravo!

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