For the past couple of weeks, many of the emails I've received—and sent—start or end with wishes for the new year. Most often it's been something along the lines of the straightforward Happy New Year to you and yours! Or perhaps a Best wishes for peace, prosperity and success!
I appreciate the well wishes, and I hope those to whom I offer them do as well, for I do say them in all sincerity despite how generic such sentiments may seem.
We all use basically the same words for the good tidings—how many ways, really, are there for offering up New Year's greetings?—yet I'm pretty sure the meaning for each of us on the receiving end is quite different.
Here is what the oft-used words mean to me, specifically in relation to 2013:
To me, happiness is so relative. It can depend on how fat I might feel at any particular time; how much I have on my to-do list or how much free time I have to do something I enjoy; if Jim helps with the dishes or not; when I'll get to see my grandsons again; and on and on and on. One day may be a happy one and the next not so much. Heck, it's often that way from minute to minute, not just day to day, depending on how many hot flashes I experience in those minutes.
So instead of expecting to have a happy year, with heaps of happiness from beginning to end, I prefer to focus more on joy. Even in the very worst of times, the deepest and darkest moments, I can and usually do feel joy, have joy, experience joy. Joy, in contrast to happiness, doesn't depend on exterior influences; it's something deep inside and I'm fortunate to have it, regardless of how happy or unhappy I may be at any given time. I'm pretty sure I won't have a completely happy new year regardless of how many folks wish that for me. I will, though, have a year filled with joy, which is good enough for me.
Another very relative term, as there's only so much one can do to work toward peace throughout the world. Peace for me personally would be the peace in knowing everything is going to be okay. With my family, my finances, my goals. Despite having the joy I mentioned above, I'm not an incredibly peaceful person. I'm worried about this or that more often than not, and usually have to force myself to breathe deep and just let go of the fear and trembling, inside and out. I want peace, welcome peace, so this is an especially appreciated wish for the coming year.
Ah, prosperity. I'm pretty sure that peace I long for would be so much easier to come by if only my wishes of prosperity were to come true. I know, I know—money does not buy happiness. But it definitely would help me stop worrying about the lack of it, the focus of which has consumed more than a fair share of the past few years.
There are so, so many ways I'm striving to succeed this year, so I'll take all the wishes for success I can get. To me, success takes the form of simply being better in most of my current pursuits, which may or may not mean there will be financial gain attached. I want to succeed at being a better—and traditionally published—writer. I want to succeed at being a better blogger, moving beyond the plateau I've found myself on. I want to succeed at being a better wife, mother, grandmother, friend—including being a better friend to myself, the person on whom I'm most hard. I want to succeed at reading more, singing more, traveling more, taking better photos. I want to succeed at fitting in some time on the piano again and succeed at losing a few—no, many—pounds. Yes, I want success—my idea of success.
This one would be far easier if I'd lose those pounds mentioned above. Sure, I want to look better, but more so, I want to feel better, and that would start with shedding the extra weight. My bloggy friend Chloe recently mentioned that we in mid-life and beyond need to exercise as if our life depends on it—because our life literally does depend on it, especially in terms of the degree to which we'll enjoy the rest of our life. I'm taking her advice to heart and plan to exercise more and eat better for the sake of achieving better health in 2013. Bonus for doing so? I will likely look better in 2013—and beyond—too.
To all who have wished me any of the above, I offer sincere thanks. And to each and every one of you reading this, I sincerely wish you joy, peace, prosperity, success, and good health in 2013—in whatever ways those words personally matter and mean the most to you.
Of the words mentioned above, which do you most wish for in 2013?