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Everyone Has One, What’s Your Story?

The holiday season is all about celebrating with family and friends. Whether you’re sitting around a table enjoying a formal dinner, or having snacks in front of the fireplace or in a restaurant, this is the time of year when many think back to the past, and also plan for the New Year. 

It’s no surprise that the traditional New Year’s song in North America is the Robbie Burns piece, “Auld Lang Syne”. The title, written in Scottish, roughly translates as “For old time’s sake.”  The words are all about remembering the past, and moving ahead together.

In a much-loved Scottish tradition, everyone sings the song just before midnight on December 31, holding hands. At the beginning of the final verse ‘And there’s a hand, my trusty friend’, they cross their arms across their bodies so that their left hand is holding the hand of the person on their right, and their right hand holds that of the person on their left. 

Thinking back and planning forward is all part of our story. An ordinary year becomes special when we know we have accomplished something, even if it’s just to make an impact in someone’s life. You may not hold hands to do it, but when you gather this year, think about what has past as well as what is ahead. 

  • What was the biggest event in your life this past year? How did it affect you? Both good, bad, and perhaps a bit of both. What did you learn from it? 
  • The year may not have seemed that special, but think again. Often it is the small things that can make a big impact, like a movie you saw, a friend you visited, or something new you learned. 
  • Did you travel this past year? What did you learn? Do you plan to travel somewhere in 2020? What lessons from last time might you take with you? For some it might be to remember their sun screen, for others, it could be to schedule more time to rest and less “to-dos”!
  • Maybe this was a year of “firsts”, like the first time you voted, or the first time you became a parent, a grandparent, an uncle or aunt, etc. Other “firsts” could be activities that you’ve tried. For example, for many Torontonians, 2019 was the first year that they enjoyed watching basketball!
  • For most people, there’s something we’ve had to overcome. It might be as simple as learning some new technology. For others, it’s overcoming a fear, or trying something new. 
  • This may have been a year where you faced a real challenge, perhaps a change in employment, or the death of a loved one. It can be difficult to remember a hard time, but our memories are what keep us moving forward. Talking about what you’ve gone through with friends is usually a good idea. 
  • Maybe this was a year that included one or more celebrations, like a special milestone birthday, anniversary, graduation or award.