With New Year’s Eve just days away, the line between past and future seems to be a little more defined than usual. This gives us a unique opportunity to look behind us to see where we have been and to look ahead to see where our current path leads. We do this from the vantage point called the present.
When I think of “examining” life like this at this time of year, I am reminded of Charles Dickens’ tale A Christmas Carol. In this story, Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the spirits of past, present, and future. Over the course of one night, Scrooge slowly realizes that it is totally within his power to change. Although his future looked extremely dismal from his present vantage point, he discovered that it is never too late to begin leading a life of purpose and meaning.
What I love about Charles Dickens’ tale, in general, is that it really teaches that we can never know for certain what the future holds because it has not happened yet. The New Year is “Full of things that have never been,” said Rainer Maria Rilke. And this is true.
We can only surmise what the future will hold based on our present circumstances and intentions. Scrooge honored the past and made the changes in the present that he wished to see in the future. And, truly, this is all any of us can do.
What will your year ahead hold for you? In this present moment, what intentions can you make? What small steps can you take one day at a time to reach your highest ideal for your life?