A life well-lived

 

BY HAYLEY WOODIN

STORY 3 ITEM 17

A new month, a new year, a fresh start.

Sort of.

Just as my last few weeks of December are packed with holiday parties, home-baking and an exercise regimen that mostly involves walking from the couch to the fridge; my first few weeks of January, I imagine, are filled with longer walks, more reading and better eating.

At least that’s what I told myself in the final hours of 2013.

The New Year’s resolution is a bit of a ritual for me, in that every year, I boldly proclaim what, how, who I will be the following year. It’s the statement that’s the ritual – the follow-through is a bit less structured.

Truth is, nobody needs a change in calendar year to resolve to do something new, or differently, or better. Is a change in year in reality much more than a single digit rolling up a figure on our clocks? I mean, clocks (and I don’t mean the ones found on cellphone screens) are even beginning to seem like a piece of antiquity from yesteryear.   To further my point, that calendar rollover isn’t even the same around world. At the end of this month, China, and B.C.’s local Chinese communities, will be celebrating their new year – the year of the horse. The thing is, a change in date doesn’t make anyone, including myself, more likely to resolve to do anything. What’s needed is a shift in thinking, and the determination to reinforce it every single day – whether that be the first bright-eyed day of the year, or the day six weeks from now when keeping up promises seems much less convenient.The first week of this year is the first time since I was four years old that I didn’t return to formal classes. What I was required to do in elementary and high school, and what I chose to do at the post-secondary level, is no longer a fixture in my life. (Except through the indirect way of working at a university.)

Something I did, and thought about, day in and day out is gone, freeing up big blocks of time and mental space for other activities, like – as declared on Dec. 31 – reading, yoga, cooking.

Alas, nature abhors a vacuum. And somehow, all of this extra time and energy never really materialized. It seems as though the structured free-time I allowed myself as a student disappeared along with the structure of post-secondary life.

As I find myself replacing school life with work life, I resolve, today, to make time for education, as time should always be made for education, whether it be formal, informal or introspective. This includes reading books of any variety, continuing ed classes and learning from others in informal settings. The best part, is that it’s education can come from lessons big and small: It can happen in the span of a couple seconds after realizing you made a mistake at work, or over a period of a couples hours with a good book. We can choose to be constantly learning – all it takes is a shift toward thinking that you can learn from anyone or anything, anytime.

Whether you follow the Chinese calendar year or the Canadian one, what’s important is this, and it comes in two points. First, if you stumbled on keeping up your resolution this January, you can just as validly re-launch your New Year’s resolution in February.

Second, if you do that, you’ve missed the point.

Happy New Year from yours truly. Here’s to every day being a new one, and a new occasion to grow, to learn and to keep striving forward.

 

Hayley Woodin is Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Media Specialist. KPU offers the Metro Vancouver area over 145 programs through campuses in Surrey, Cloverdale, Richmond and Langley. Learn about what over 18,000 students learn annually at www.kpu.ca.