Sunday, January 1, 2017

Letting go, saying Yes, and choosing wisely

Last year at this time I found myself slip-sliding into 2016 with almost none of the thought and intention that I usually had brought to the process each year. A couple of months in, I could see where the year was taking me, so I declared a Word of the Year and a general goal: this would be the year I divested myself of belongings, activities, attitudes, or goals that no longer served me well.

Some of that happened, and not by accident. I cleaned out closets and cabinets, tossing clothes I no longer needed. I leafed through and then tossed large boxes of publications and documents that once were valued evidence of my work or markers of battles won and lost. (There is plenty more clearing to do!)

After a long and frustrating struggle to achieve a smooth transition to new leadership for our 28-year commitment to save and operate a historic carousel, Peter and I announced our planned departure--and then quit in November a few months sooner than we'd planned. It was the best, most freeing decision we've ever made, and we believe it cleared the way for new leaders to step forward in ways they weren't doing while we were still in place.

While we were at it, we finally pulled the plug on our long-standing support for St. Paul Saints minor-league baseball. Charter season-ticket holders since 1993, we were no longer enjoying the experience as we once had, and neither were our kids and grandkids. We'd already cut down on the number of games we attended (from 50 to 6 or 8). Next year we'll go to 2 games followed by fireworks.

Quicker than I'd expected, new priorities rushed in to fill the void. And it turns out that life brought them to me, without my planning for them. All I had to do was say Yes.

This year I'm much more aware of my need to reflect and deliberate about my goals and interests. I'm already finding I'll be much more effective if I focus on a few rather than try to do them all. The coming of a new year--and all that it implies--makes me determined to choose wisely for this new stage of life.

I promise I'll be back soon to talk about it. Meanwhile I'd love to hear what's on your mind as we enter 2017.



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