Starting the New Year Maya-style

Sherri Gardner HowellFarragut, Kitchen Table Talk

Today we take stock.

Last night we had that last cigarette, last drink, last fight with a loved one, last carb, last piece of chocolate.

Today we make plans: how we can be better, do better, have better lives. We resolve, and we are full of hope, anticipation and determination.

By spring, 80 percent of us (according to U.S. News & World Report) will have abandoned our resolutions.

Perhaps that’s why I stopped making them years ago. I do take stock – end of one chapter, starting of another – and decide one thing I want to really concentrate on for the new year. That’s about it.

I think for 2020, perhaps the words of my favorite poet and common-sense philosopher Maya Angelou might be the best way to go. In 2011, Maya said, “This New Year needs us all; all our hopes, all our good wishes, all our smiles and all our gestures of forgiveness. I wish everybody a happy New Year!”

Typically, Maya looked ahead and wondered what she could do to make the new year and her corner of the world better rather than looking at herself. It is an expected view from the woman who said, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

I look up Maya Angelou quotes fairly often and have many of them in my “Inspiration” document on my computer. Being a writer, I still believe words have power, and positive words of affirmation send out good vibes.

As I have already shared with you this year many of my Southern-wisewoman mother’s one-liners and famous (in our family) phrases, my New Year gift to you is four of my favorite Maya quotes. I hope they inspire you to have a Happy New Year.

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

“Seek patience and passion in equal amounts. Patience alone will not build the temple. Passion alone will destroy its walls.”

“I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.”

Sherri Gardner Howell has been writing about family life for newspapers and magazines since 1987. She lives in West Knoxville, is married to Neville Howell and has two sons and three grandsons.


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