New Year’s Eve. The day of reckoning. The day that we so often celebrate in groups, while obsessing about ourselves. You know what I mean: What did I achieve last year? Did I make enough money? Did I lose enough weight? Who will I be next year? Will I still be carrying on with this silly habit? How can I make myself better?
I’ll admit, I get stuck in this trap like everyone else.
But years ago, one of my closest friends, Scooby, taught me a New Year’s Eve tradition that has made the last day of the year something entirely different for me. This tradition has changed me, and changed the way I look at the 364 days that just passed. Maybe it will change you, too.
As Scoob and I (and now an entire group of friends and family members) prepare for our New Year’s Eve festivities – wherever we are, whatever our plans – we ask ourselves a question that involves an entirely different type of reflection:
“Who was my favorite NEW person of this year?”
I love this question. Because it gets me entirely out of myself. And into the collection of beautiful souls that grace my life.
I find myself saying, “Wait… did I meet her in 2015? Or was that 2014?”
Or, “Oh, yeah… remember him? Remember that night? That was SO MUCH fun!”
Or, “I loved what she said about blah, blah, blah…”
And rather than spending an entire day thinking about how I could be better or how many miles I’d promised myself I’d run in 2015, I’ll be thinking about other people. I’ll be wondering where they are, and what they’re doing, and who they’re with. I’ll be remembering what it was like with them – even if it was just for a moment. I’ll be celebrating the beauty of others. Appreciating the power of connection. Rather than castigating myself.
So think about it:
Whom did you meet for the first time in the last year? New friends? Colleagues? Employees? Parents of your kids’ friends? Neighbors? Patrons, owners or workers at local shops, bars, restaurants? Friends of friends? Acquaintances on vacation? Members of online peer groups, masterminds, Facebook groups? Folks at the gym, yoga class, bootcamp? Teachers, mentors, guides? That guy you sat next to on the plane…
Who was your favorite NEW person of 2015?
Now… here’s the best part of this tradition. And this is something I look forward to like a little child, and I absolutely RELISH it every year.
Once you’ve taken the time to think about all the people you’ve met (and trust me, you have met new people), and to really consider the goodness and the sparkle and the flavor of each one…
Then you choose one.
(There are no rules. You can actually choose as many as you’d like. Because goodness is just goodness, for goodness sake.)
And you call that person.
And the call goes something like this:
“I don’t want to interrupt your evening or your celebration. I just wanted to let you know that each year, we play a game at our house, where we spend time thinking about every new person we’ve met in the past year. And then each of us chooses a single person – one individual that we feel is special in some way – as our favorite new person of the year. And this year, I chose you. And I wanted to let you know why…”
And then, you proceed to tell that other human being WHY they’re special. And how they’ve touched you. And what you love about him or her. And you say thank you to that person… just for being that person.
Could there possibly be any better juju than that?!
You see, gratitude is the gateway to joy. And, “Thank you for being you,” is one of the purest statements of gratitude you can make. And rather than ending this year — and beginning next year — thinking about how YOU can be better, why not focus on someone else who’s made you better? Even if only for a moment or a day?
Who’s your favorite new person of 2015?
Happy New Year to you. And thank you for hanging out with me in 2015. And for allowing me to share my juju with you. And for all you’ve shared with me. I am both humbled and blessed.
And if you’d like to share your favorite new person in the comments below, I’d love an introduction…