Even though Christmas is over, I still have my most exciting present of all to open. Just thinking of all the delightful possibilities makes me giddy and oh, so happy. It is the gift of time, the gift of a new year. It begs to be opened and teases me with possible surprises and new experiences.
As I age, I notice some things that younger people have, that I do not, such as more energy, face without wrinkles and more opportunities for financial success. However, this one thing, the gift of a new year is for everyone, no matter what age. It is a gift that needs all my attention and thankfulness, as I carefully unwrap it.
What will the New Year bring? Without a doubt, it will bring some sadness and disappointment but all of that will make me the person that I am supposed to be. Yes, I know I am Pollyanna all over again, but how else could we face the future? (Pollyanna’s philosophy of life what she calls “The Glad Game” The game is about finding a silver lining in the darkest clouds, something in everything to be glad about).
I found it interesting that research indicates this: at the unconscious level, our minds have a tendency to focus on the optimistic while, at the conscious level, we have a tendency to focus on the negative. This unconscious bias towards blind or excessive optimism is often described as the Pollyanna principle or Pollyannaism (http://happinessaddicted.blogspot.com/2011/04/pollyanna-and-glad-game.html). Maybe we have to play the glad game because our conscious minds focus on the negative.
Do Bad Things Happen When We Expect They Will?
According to Pollyanna, when you look for bad, you will get it. Here is what she said: “What men and women need is encouragement. Their natural resisting powers should be strengthened, not weakened…. Instead of always harping on a man’s faults, tell him of his virtues. Try to pull him out of his rut of bad habits. Hold up to him his better self, his REAL self that can dare and do and win out!… The influence of a beautiful, helpful, hopeful character is contagious, and may revolutionize a whole town…. People radiate what is in their minds and in their hearts. If a man feels kindly and obliging, his neighbors will feel that way, too, before long. But if he scolds and scowls and criticizes—his neighbors will return scowl for scowl, and add interest!… When you look for the bad, expecting it, you will get it. When you know you will find the good—you will get that…”
How Do We Really Live And Not Just Breathe?
As I approach this “gift,” the New Year, I am excited that I will seek out new adventures, new friends, new books and definitely new experiences. Ah, Pollyanna is such a wise little girl and knew that just breathing isn’t living at all: “Oh, but Aunt Polly, Aunt Polly, you haven’t left me any time at all just to—to live.”
“To live, child! What do you mean? As if you weren’t living all the time!”
“Oh, of course I’d be BREATHING all the time I was doing those things, Aunt Polly, but I wouldn’t be living. You breathe all the time you’re asleep, but you aren’t living. I mean living—doing the things you want to do: playing outdoors, reading (to myself, of course), climbing hills, talking to Mr. Tom in the garden, and Nancy, and finding out all about the houses and the people and everything everywhere all through the perfectly lovely streets I came through yesterday. That’s what I call living, Aunt Polly. Just breathing isn’t living!”
Here’s a sincere toast to you, my Highland Friends for a Happy New Year, as you open your gift of time! Here is another of my favorite quotes:
“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” Rosalia de Castro quotes (The most outstanding modern writer in the Galician language, 1837-1885)
(Quotes from “Pollyanna” by Eleanor H. Porter)