While on any given day I can’t remember where I put my car keys 15 minutes before or whether or not I’ve taken multivitamin, I can remember an amazing amount of what I learned in Mrs. Malahy’s Latin I and Latin II classes from . . . . well, let’s just forget how many years ago that was, why don’t we?
I can conjugate verbs, read and understand “Winnie Ile Pu”, and sing more than a few Christmas Carols in Latin. And, of course, I remember most of the Greek gods and goddesses and what it is they rule.
That’s why, every year when I turn the December calendar page and begin noting appointments on the first page for the new year, I think of Janus. The namesake of our month January, he is the 2-faced god of beginnings, gates and doorways, transitions, time, and endings, among other things.
Of course, it’s fitting that the first month of the year — a time when people reflect on the successes and failures, joys and sorrows of the previous 12 months and plot out a course of action for the coming 12 — be named after such a god.
Looking back is important, of course. It’s important to reflect on what worked, what didn’t, and even on what we ardently wish had never happened at all. We learn from our pasts. That’s why we study history.
Some of us spend too much time focused on the past, however. We chew on past slights, silly little goofs, or other minor issues like the proverbial dog with a bone. We simply cannot let go of things. We’re so busy daydreaming about the past, rewriting scenes so that we’re more favorably reflected, that we miss out on the present.
Similarly, it’s important to look ahead, to lay the foundation for the time ahead. But just as it can be dangerous to focus too much on the past, always looking at tomorrow at the expense of today can create problems.
It takes careful balance, this act of living in the moment while at the same time learning from the past and prudently preparing for the future.
I’ve been reflecting the past couple of weeks on 2016, on what I learned about myself and life in general. I’ve focused, too, on what I hope 2017 to look like.
But I’m done with that. I’m ready — more than at any other time in my life — to live in the moment, in the day at hand.
I’m ready for 2017 — it’s going to be a wonderful year . . . no matter what it brings!