Because January 1st was on a Wednesday, last week felt like a continuation of the year-end holidays and not a new start. This week finally feels like it’s a new year. Although you may be eager to push into 2020, I find that something is needed to gain closure for the prior year. I suggest some kind of closure ceremony or ceremonies.
Closure is an interesting topic. When anything is over, be it a relationship, a project, an education, a phase in your life, a season, a year, a decade (depending on how you count decades), it is helpful to process and reflect on that transition. Closure is gaining some insight into the transition so that you have some resolution and acceptance for what took place. It helps you to move forward. It can be particularly helpful if the transition feels painful.
Each year I am partial to starting the closure process for the past year by reviewing the calendar to remind yourself of all that happened during the year. You will probably be surprised by all that you did, people you interacted with, experiences you hadn’t planned for, and things that you had already forgotten about. If you have some notes from earlier in the year that are forward-looking, it is very fascinating to see how what you anticipated matched what actually occurred. No judgment is imperative. Just use the process to see what you learned, what you let go of, what you welcomed, what risks you took, what help you provided, what gifts you gave and received and who you have become. Don’t rush the process. Find some quiet time to review and reflect.
When you are ready, you might create some kind of letting go ceremony. Perhaps you want to light a candle and say so long to the past year. Maybe just writing your thoughts down is ceremony enough. If you paint or draw or take photos perhaps an image will help you to summarize your feelings for the year as you bid adieu. There are no rules. Give yourself an opportunity to fully feel any emotions that arise from this transition. Take as long as you need. Remember that closure is about getting ready for the next phase of your life but that doesn’t mean that you have to forget. Instead honor yourself and what the year meant to you. For each year brings with it new experiences from really awesome to really awful. As we cycle through our lives, the richness of being human is made up of our everyday moments with all the highs and lows and in-betweens. Ceremony is celebration of that complexity. May you find peace with your past.