Another New Year is upon us. It seems that each year it comes quicker and quicker. For many of us, New Years is probably the most depressing holiday of the year. Perhaps it’s the fact that Christmas seemed to come so soon and all the joy and excitement and anticipation we had has left with it. For others it’s watching those happy couples share in that New Year’s Eve kiss. It’s hard being the only single person at a New Year’s party, even when it’s with family.
But perhaps the most likely reason is the fact that, quite simply another year has come and gone. We are another year older, and hopefully another year wiser. We aren’t getting any younger. Yet when we look back on the old year, what do we see. Very often we see some painful memories. We see missed opportunities, failed dreams and even, some burnt bridges along the way.
As the villain Soren says to Captain Picard in the movie Star Trek: Generations,
“They say time is the fire in which we burn. Right now, Captain, my time is running out. We leave so many things unfinished in our lives.”
This isn’t just limited to the past year, but our entire past. We look back on failed relationships and wonder if we made the right choice. Was there someone we would have been better suited with had we taken the time to notice? We look back on shattered dreams and wonder if there wasn’t something we could have done to make them happen. We look at a lost job and wondered if we should have worked harder.
We stand at the grave of a lost friend and wonder if we left anything unsaid? Was a bridge burnt that we should have mended? Were our last words in parting words of friendship or animosity?
Yet the truth remains that we can’t go back, only forward. We can only learn from our past and hopefully become better people. While it is good to reflect on the past and learn from our mistakes, we can’t allow ourselves to wallow in those indiscretions.
To do so will not only cripple our future but limit our view of the past. If we look back on the past year, while we may see some hard times and painful memories, we can also see some good memories. In fact the further we go along, the more likely the good memories will out way the bad. However that all comes down to a choice.
We can chose to be ruled by the pain of our past or we can chose to cherish the good memories we made. For the most, I try for example I don’t remember the nasty smell from my freshman dorm room. Instead I try to remember the good times with my friends. Perhaps that is the best way to keep from having New Year’s Eve from feeling depressing and instead truly have a Happy New Year.
It’s all about a choice. The choice to wallow in pain, or choice to learn, grow and cherish the past and become better people in the future. As Captain Jean-Luc Picard said at the end of Star Trek: Generations,
“Someone once told me that ‘time’ is a predator that stalks us all our lives. But I rather believe that time is a companion who goes with us on the journey and reminds us to cherish every moment because it will never come again. After all, number one, we are only mortal.”