By Barbara Schiffman
In “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” novelist Zora Neale Hurston wrote: ”There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”
For some of us, 2021 was a year that asked many questions. I hope to get answers to at least some of those questions in 2022.
Actor John Wayne said: “Tomorrow is the most important thing in life… It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.” I also believe we learn from our experiences and life lessons, if we’re paying attention.
Writing down my unanswered Questions and last year’s Lessons helps me notice the unifying thread or pattern that’s unfolding through my life. It often lets me determine a THEME for the past year which puts what occurred in a clearer perspective
As we move from 2021 to 2022, I invite you to do this as well. Notice whether your lingering Questions &/or recent Life Lessons reflect a Theme permeating 2021. Write down whatever comes to mind. Consider this the “working title” for the chapter you’ve just written in your personal Book of Life. Know that you can refine this Theme as the pattern of your 2021 experiences becomes even clearer in hindsight.
Since each new year gives us a fresh start and opportunities to do things differently, you can also consider how you want 2022 to feel as it begins and as it unfolds. Write down whatever phrase comes to mind as your “first draft” of 2022’s Theme.
My Year Themes often come from song or book titles. In 2011, my Year Theme was the Beach Boys song “Good Vibrations.” It lifted my spirits, so I played it whenever I needed an energy boost or a reminder to stay positive no matter what was happening around me.
Themes can also be a blend of words embodying the feeling, energy, or “flavor” you’d like your year to contain. I prefer to create two or three-word phrases for this, choosing words that start with the same letter or have a similar sound, giving my Theme some rhythm or rhyme and making it easier to remember.
My 2012 Theme was “Delighted and Delicious!” When decisions, actions or opportunities arose for me that year, I’d notice if they made me feel “delighted” or “delicious” or both, and choose to take them — or not — accordingly.
At the beginning of 2013, the song “The Time of My Life” from the movie ‘Dirty Dancing’ suddenly began playing in my mind as I thought about the year ahead of me. I realized that was how I wanted to feel every day — like I’m having the Time of My Life. So it became my Theme Song for that year. I listened to several versions of it on iTunes and downloaded the Broadway show version because I could sing along to it easily. I played it in my car whenever I felt stuck. Just thinking of the song reminded me to notice how I was having the time of my life, and that my life was getting better all the time. (Another Theme Song for that year could also have been “It’s Getting Better All the Time” – thank you, Beatles!)
As I think about 2022, “(I’ll Get By) With a Little Help From My Friends” comes to mind – another Beatles classic. Maybe that can be my Theme for 2022?
Let your “inner muse” guide you to create the right Theme or Theme Song for your 2022. Feel free to share it with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This was adapted from my Kindle Vella “Ready Set Next: Embracing Your Past to Empower Your Future” – you can read the whole Vella at https://www.amazon.com/kindle-vella/story/B09BF1PMWT