Thursday, December 31, 2009

Newfound Joys

I'll admit it up front. I'm one of those strange individuals who tends to catch up to things a little late.

I'm sure most of you normal people out there have been singing songs about the New Year coming round probably as early as the start of December, or maybe even long before that. But me, it's only now that I am feeling a stronger sense of that spectrum of emotions that accompany an anticipation of the brand new things to come in the soon-be-to year 2010.

Well, whilst more than half the working population of Malaysia is still in its party-holidaying mood, I have been trudging to work every morning to an office that's two-thirds empty. Technically, somewhere in the back of my mind I realise that I am not alone doing this. Yet somehow, when I'm out on the roads driving to that faraway place where I work, it doesn't always feel that way. Nevertheless, I have been trying in my own little ways to keep myself motivated.

For one thing, the roads are much clearer than usual and that means a shorter ride in the car and being able to get into the office within a reasonable time (although I am getting up and leaving home later than I should). And with the clearer traffic comes the clearer mind and a reduction in stress levels. So, with a mind that's more at ease, I've been doing a bit more thinking whilst behind the wheel these few days.

One of the things I've been pondering is how easily I forget that each new day I have before me is in fact a gift. Yes, I know, it may sound awfully cliche and all, but the thing is, as regular human beings, we do tend to forget these things. Even if we're not scowling or grunting outwardly, I'm pretty certain there have been a considerable number of days where, upon waking up in the morning, one of the first few thoughts that crosses your mind runs something along the lines of "Just great, yet ANOTHER working day..." Am I not right?

And so we forget that waking up to a healthy body, having the sufficient financial standing to be able to drive a car out on the streets each day, zipping across town taking for granted that our safety is assured, having a predictable job and steady income, being able to come home to people who love us at the end of each day are things that not everyone in this world enjoys.

Then another New Year rolls along and suddenly, we're jolted to remember the 101 reasons why the year has been such a fantastic journey. We come to grips again with the mortality of life as news reports of fatal accidents or crimes jab fear and at the same time thankfulness into our hearts again. There's life to spare yet, and we're still blessed enough to be living it. We make lists of things to do, and relive that invigorating surge of excitement again as we hold fast to the hope that the New Year will spell better tomorrows for us.

But why does this only happen at the brink of a New Year? Only for another two or three months to go by and then we'll find ourselves again stuck in some dreaded rut, loathing the very air we breathe all over again?

Personally, I've always believed that most things in life hang heavily upon our perspectives - the way we see the world. Often times, a situation doesn't really change, but perhaps the way we look at it does. And depending on the conclusions we choose to draw from it, it would determine whether or not we are affected for the better or the worse by the said situation.

So, even as we revel in the fact that the New Year is in fact finally approaching (and fast too), let's put aside the age old habit of racking up long lists of Resolutions in favour of a brand new attitude for a change. And that attitude being this: to purpose in our hearts to find ways to see things in a new light each day. To make sure we don't fall into the trappings of the mundane, but to keep that New Year's enthusiasm alive the whole year through, as though it were New Year's Day every day.

How's that for a New Year's Resolution then?

Being different is a choice, after all. And making a difference is set in motion by a series of consistent decisions to remain different each time. If enough of us believe this and live this out, who knows what form of a different world we'll have at the end of 2010?

So let's do this.

Let's not hope for better tomorrows. Let's bring hope to others wherever we're at by the way we live today.

Happy New Year, everyone. I'm excited for whatever's ahead... Are you? :)