By Robert Ross


It arrives each year like clockwork, always during the holiday season. For a brief period, it becomes an obsession. It usually involves an odd combination of feelings, from excitement and anticipation, to uncertainty and depression. It's not a gift or a Christmas card. It's not a person. It's . . . a thought! Plain and simple.

The holiday season is a time for family gatherings, renewing old friendships and sending greetings to those you care about. When the holiday festivities are over, usually around the first week in January, I'm always faced with . . . that thought.

That thought consistently takes the form of a question, asking "What's the new year going to bring?" "What's my vision?" Will this be the year that I become the person that I know I'm capable of becoming? Will this be the year that I climb Mt. Everest, star in a movie, write a book and discover a cure for cancer, all before June? Will this be the year when I can honestly say, "I've given it my all?"

Every year since I can remember, December has been a time for reflection, a time to ask some thoughtful questions about the year that just passed and the year to come. Reflecting on the past year isn't too difficult. What worked? What did I enjoy? Should I do more of the same? Or what didn't work, what needs change, revision or elimination? It's thinking about the coming year that has the potential to move me into an anxious state. What are my goals? How am I going to make this year the best year of my life? Or how can I contribute to make the world better place to live? The anxiety comes from having a sense that I can control my destiny, if I'm certain about what I want. It's trying to identify what I truly want that can bring on sense of despair. Occasionally I act on elements of these reflections . . . lose a pound (or at least try), join a health club, schedule a trip. But in all the ponderings, the lists, the ruminations, I never really get "that vision," that goal, the one that sends chills up and down my spine, the one that moves me to turn my life into something miraculous.

So every year, like clockwork, those questions tap me on the shoulder demanding attention. And like clockwork, every year I busily make lists to help me through that period of uncertainty.

Look at me!

So how do we get to that place where we can say "I'm doing it!" I've taken this life, this body, this mind and turned it into something miraculous. "I'm giving it my best!"

I sometimes think, with envy, of a child who's been turned loose for his first solo bike ride, "look at me, look at me!" he shouts, beaming with joy. The expression says it all. He's giving it his best. For that child, the bike ride is an incredible adventure, filled with new things to learn and places to explore. I too, want more of that childlike spirit in my life. I want to say "look at me," look what I've done with my life . . .

The holiday season is a time for reflection. The new year is beginning and with it comes the possibility of new dreams, new goals and new visions. A chance to plan and a chance to create a life where more often then not you're beaming with pride and exclaiming "hey, look at me . . ."

The holidays are like that.

Copyright 1996, by Robert Ross, all rights reserved

Robert Ross can be reached by E-mail at:

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