When you think back now on the many different phases of your life, do you ever feel like you are staring one-eyed through an optical tube like a kaleidoscope that shifts the images into mirrored shapes and colors as you turn the shaft one way or the other? Turn it one way and you see one reflected thing, then turn it the opposite way and you see something completely different reflected in the tube.
That is what happens over time as we view our personal life. We see it one way for a time; then age and experience shifts our view and we can see something completely different when we reassess it.
Year-end reflections can also do that to you—can change how you comprehend how the past year may have actually affected you. An experience or event that may have seemed to affect you one way when it first occurred may seem quite different after the dust has settled on it and you have the time to look back from afar.
I recommend doing year-end reflections, which are much easier to do if you have kept a journal of daily incidences and revelations to review. But even if you haven’t kept such a log, taking the time to reconsider what all has occurred in your life over the last year and assessing how that has shifted your life in one direction or another, is a good practice to adopt both in terms of your mental/emotional health as well as assessing the clarity of your life’s direction so you can then ‘course correct’ if you need to do so for the new year ahead.
If you aren’t familiar with year-end assessments and you don’t have a log of daily events or experiences to draw from, you can start by asking yourself a few basic questions and then logging your honest answers to them, such as:
- Are you happy overall with your current life?
- How could you improve your life situation or how could you bring more joy into your life?
- What changes would you have to make in your life to have a brighter, more hopeful outlook? Be specific.
- How has the past years events, activities, or interactions shown you what works well for you and what doesn’t work so well?
- Are there certain people who are important to you? Name them. Why are they important? What needs do they fill for you? (family connection, lover, confidant, coach, socializing partner, spiritual advisor….)
- How could those relationships improve? Or is it time for a new relationship?
- Or is it actually time to start thinking less about them and more about you? One-sided personal relationships are not very satisfying. And truly becoming more familiar with all aspects of yourself can help you determine WHY your life seems to look one way or the other in that shifting kaleidoscopic tube.
- Are you content with your current LIFE direction? Have you personally set career or education goals to achieve, and what is the status of them? Are your social interactions fulfilling you, or are you fairly isolated and feeling alone?
- Do you desire more social contact with others or are those current interactions not satisfying your needs? Do you feel that something is still lacking in your life even when you are with other people?
- How can you bring a sense of excitement and joy back to your life? Are there new adventures you might try or new places you might explore? Are there cooking classes, or exercise classes, or places to go and explore that might help shift your outlook from your current ‘really bored’ to more anticipatory?
- Or how can you better appreciate where you presently are and what you are currently doing in your life? Are you maximizing your locale and your natural resources? Are you taking advantage of all opportunities provided to you?
- Are you actively or passively living your life? Can you become more active and more aware of what all is happening around you daily? Maybe you are missing something in your current setting. Familiarity has its drawbacks. When we are very familiar with our settings and interactions we often slip into auto-function mode, and then tune out all other stimuli happening around us. So take a day and stay alert to everything NOT so familiar, and see what you can discover about life occurring all around you that you might normally miss.
How we view our lives is always subjective, and our attitude toward LIFE in general can have a major effect on what happens to us both large and small. So spend a little more time getting to better know yourself first, to determine how you want your life to continue forward from here on out.
That initial assessment time might make the difference in how bright and colorful your LIFE kaleidoscope will appear when you turn the viewing tube many years from now.