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December 30, 2022

“Auld Lang Syne”—Maybe, but Maybe Not: 5 Questions to Ask Ourselves as we Enter 2023.

Another year will soon be behind us, a catalog of experiences and memories—some to be remembered, some we may want to forget.

Yet when all is said and done, 2023 is on our doorstep, and it is up to us to set the course for the next 12 months (though I suggest you start with the first three, setting quarterly intentions and goals, breaking them into smaller bits rather than big bites that could leave you with terrible indigestion!).

Each year I consciously listen to Dan Fogelberg’s rendition of “Auld Lang Syne,” a song that can bring tears to my eyes on the happiest of days. There is something about the melody, his tone, and the story that inspires sadness. Sounds like an oxymoron, I’m sure—inspiration fueled by sadness, but sadness is often necessary. To purge the toxins of everyday living emotionally can be cathartic, resulting in a relief that one isn’t always able to explain in words. Some things are meant to be felt, not spoken or shared.

Have you ever taken a moment to reflect upon the origin and meaning of “Auld Lang Syne”?

It was originally written in a language known as Scots, dating back to the 16th century but not formally written down until 1788 when Robert Burns (Scottish poet) included it in one of his works. Today, sing it to toast old friendships that have stood the test of time.

That’s beautiful for those who are tied to the past, family, and friendships from birth to today, yet what irony as we start a new year that the song only honors the past?

There are many people who respect their past but want to build a better future. They’ve made new friends, friends who have become family, and long to celebrate those relationships when the clock strikes 12 on 01/01/2023.

Yes, we treasure old friendships and everything that’s stood the test of time, but there is so much more to life than that.

What about what lies ahead? What if what’s stood the test of time isn’t healthy for us—relationships that remain yet are draining or depleting us?

Do we lack the courage to pull away? Why would we be afraid or hesitant to let go of someone or something that is not a true friend to us?

As we close out this week leading into the new year, may we make the time to reflect upon what is healthy and good for us—and what needs to be left in 2022. You may not need to cut ties immediately, in an extreme or impulsive way, but merely see people or situations for who and what they are then slowly release them from your life.

And be sure to ask yourself, as a wise mentor once asked me, are you content or are you complacent?

Is the relationship you’re settling for fulfilling or holding you back from living the life you should be living?

Are your friendships genuine and showing up for you or telling white lies that make you look like the bad guy, compromising your integrity to save their own face?

Do the people in your life bring out the best in you or make you question countless things?

Do you feel lonelier with people than when without them?

There are innumerable reasons that cause me to wake up with gratitude each and every day, and there are possibly as many reasons that evoke contemplation enough to stop and ponder.

If 2023 will be a transformative year for me, there is much I need to leave behind—or slowly dissolve. And there is much I need to change and incorporate.

I’m a Christian who believes in God and trusts that he has a plan. But I’m also an existentialist who believes that we create the life we want.

Here are five questions to ask yourself as we enter 2023:

1. Are you settling? 

If you’re in a job, or relationship, that depletes and drains you, is it right? Why do you cling to it? It’s okay to be content, but are you complacent? Do you need to challenge yourself and risk asking the universe for more? Think about it.

2. Can you trust your friends? 

Do your friends have your back? Or do they tell white lies that make you look bad and make them look good? If so, think twice. Friends don’t do that, and I’ve found that to be the case one too many times over the past year. Oh, how I miss my best friend who would call anyone else out on such behavior. I guess that may fall to me now, but is it worth it? I think not, because a real friend wouldn’t do that.

3. Are you overcommitting? 

Do you think the world revolves around you? Do you take on anything and everything, believing that nothing will go on without you? Think again. Life will go on. You need to say no because the reality is, you let people down by falling short—not by saying no. Under-promise, overdeliver.

4. What will you prioritize? 

Not everything is a priority—and not everything is important. Take a step back and look at what you’ve been stressing about and evaluate the value it’s brought to anyone else. Are you needlessly stressing when others are just passing you by—in emails, on social media, and so on? Prioritize.

5. What do you want to achieve in 2023? 

What’s important to you? Is it finishing your book? Is it losing 20 lbs. and maintaining that loss? Is it finding peace of mind, a restful heart, or hemostasis of some sort? Is it finding a love that will grow old with you—much less predictable, my friends!

Whatever it is, make it happen.

Wishing you everything you need 2023 to be! And, Auld Lang Syne, too.


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