It is necessary to sit by yourself and ask, “Who am I, where have I been, and where am I going?”
We can all benefit from self-reflection rituals. That’s how I prefer to spend New Year’s Eve; it has long been my favourite way to release the old year and open myself to all the possibilities of the new one.
I like to make a big batch of my favourite drink (Gin Alexander*), light a fire, and let myself wander through the year’s life experiences with brutal honesty to confront my true feelings about them. The good. The bad. The ugly.
I write the key words representing these gifts on paper. I save the good ones in my blessings jar to refer back to when things get tough in the days ahead. The bad and the ugly are thrown into the fire as I let each one go. Watching them burn to ashes is very freeing.
(I used to take the ashes and spread them in the garden. It was always a special thrill to see the beautiful lupines bloom in their place every spring. But as I no longer have that garden, I’ll have to think of something else now.)
I have a list of questions I’ll ask myself as part of this ritual. You might want to try them on for size and I encourage you to add your own as well.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Year End
- What were the biggest struggles I wrestled with this year?
- Am I happy with how I stood up to these challenges?
- If not, what do I wish I had done differently?
- If yes, what was the victory I can claim?
- What are the sticking points that need more work?
- Where did grace touch my life?
- What kindnesses did I give to others?
- Is where and how I’m living working for me?
- Are the relationships I’ve invested in worth continuing?
- What did I do to grow and hone my strengths?
- How well did I use my time?
- How well did I use my resources?
- How well did I learn my lessons?
- How well did I take care of myself?
- How well did I contribute to others lives?
- What brought the most peace?
- What brought the most joy?
- What brought the most comfort?
- What brought the most fear?
- What brought the most pain?
- What old habits need to be kicked to the curb?
- What new habits need to be embraced?
- What can I get rid of to live more simply?
- What do I need to move forward?
- What do I want to learn more about?
- What new experiences did I have?
- Which experience did I like best?
- Which experience did I like least?
- Who was the most interesting person I met?
- What was the best meal I had?
I could keep going as I usually have the whole night to myself. Some years I’ve stayed up late enough to go through as many as a hundred questions. It all depends on how many Gin Alexanders I drink over the course of the exercise.
In the years where I haven’t been alone or wasn’t able to spend the last hours of the year as preferred, I’ve used my morning walk on the first day of the year to do this review.
And if your time is really too pressed to do answer a list of questions, then answer just this one:
“Did I remember to say thank you?“
*For those who may want to know, here’s how to make a single kickass Gin Alexander. (I usually make a blender full and know how to get it right by eye but that’s not going to help you, especially if it’s your first time.)
2.0 oz of Bombay Sapphire Gin (or use your own favourite brand)
1.0 oz of White Creme de Cacao
2.0 oz of double cream (or homogenized milk if you’re worried about calories)
Shake vigorously over ice and pour into a beautiful glass.
Dust with fresh grated nutmeg (this is a critical ingredient in my opinion!)
PS This drink goes down easy so pace yourself. 🙂