The End of the Year: A Time to Look Back and Reflect on Our Lives

By | 07/12/2015

December is a month unlike the others. While some people feel particularly happy this time of the year, an even larger group of people feels sad; some even get deeply depressed. In this time of the year, this darkness is the most common. People lose perspective, their physical strength and their hope. It has many causes, the most common being the feeling of vulnerability and loneliness they feel during this period.

People whose love life is unsatisfactory might be envious of those who have a family, living parents, several siblings and cousins. Of course, there might be no reason for envy at all, because most of those who have a close-knit family have to deal with antagonism, infighting and strife.

Besides, the positions might be reversed at other times of the year: everyone wants to be married during the holidays, but single on a New Year’s Eve bash! It’s wise and useful to review how we’re handling our lives every once in a while; we also go through this process before birthdays, especially those that end a decade. Turning 30, 40, 50 or 60 requires a self-evaluation, but the results aren’t always pleasant.

In December, we experience the sadness of not having achieved all of our goals, of not having reached our dreams and expectations. But most people are not fair when they review their year; many get more depressed than they should, because they are doing their psychological math, so to speak, wrong. For instance, if an obese person made a New Year’s resolution to lose 40 pounds, and by December, has only lost 20, they might be disappointed in themselves. But they shouldn’t.

Our dreams and plans are merely goals. At the start of a new period in our lives, we set them and work hard to make them come true, but rarely do we fully accomplish all we want, because our imagination is always bigger than reality. But dreams are what motivate us; we must make some advances, to feel like we evolved, and move all our expectations, and what we have not yet achieved on the past year to the next year’s calendar.

What is truly sad is when people realize they are in the same place, year after year; and to be clear, I’m not talking about practical projects, but about personal growth.

I sometimes believe that the true meaning of life is being able to leave earth, 70 or 80 years later, as a steadier, more settled person. It’s about controlling our aggressive impulses better, learning how to deal with disappointment and all kinds of pain, developing tenacity, becoming braver to make our dreams come true. In short, it is about learning how to look at ourselves so we can be free from other people’s judgment. But changing our inner selves is difficult, and slow. Even the slightest progress should be a reason for joy and celebration.

This December of 2015, I wish you all enter the New Year with a heart full of joy and contentment for all you could do for yourselves and for others during the year. No amount money or material possessions could possibly bring the same kind of satisfaction!

Tradução: Amanda Morris