Good Life

Learning to live: Letting go of the old year

Evelyn Wald
Evelyn Wald Centre Daily Times, file

Editor’s note: The Learning to Live column is written monthly by a community member involved in the collaborative partnership formed to encourage meaningful conversations about loss, grief, growth and transformation.

In a few days, we will come to the end of 2015. For some, it may have been a good year. For others, it may have been their worst and they are more than ready to move on into 2016. What’s your story?

When I was a child, I was intrigued by trapeze artists. How is it that they are able to release their strong hold on the trapeze bar — hang momentarily in mid-air — and then grasp the next bar? I was amazed at their strength and courage and timing.

As the old year ends, are you holding on tightly, fists clenched, to things or people or experiences you feel you cannot let go of? Or are you more than ready to ease up on your grip and release the year and all that it held, opening your hands to this new beginning?

One definition of transition is the process of letting go of the way it used to be and then taking hold of the way it becomes. We may have no control over either. Ending a year and beginning a new one is a time of transition. It may be a painful time, a time of great expectation, or both. T.S. Elliot said “to make an end is to make a beginning.”

Whether difficult or easy, the new year awaits us. Henri Nouwen said “if the goodbye isn’t painful, the hello cannot be joyful.” It may be difficult to let go. It may be a challenge to receive. We don’t really know what to expect for certain. We may hope for the best or prepare for the worst.

No matter what, 2016 awaits each and all of us.

May the old year become a memory and the new year offer new growth and opportunities. May you have the courage to let go, open your hands and receive whatever 2016 has to offer.

Evelyn Wald is a counselor at Individual and Family CHOICES Program, specializing in grief and loss. She is also a small group facilitator for TIDES and a member of Learning to Live: What’s Your Story?