Time is a Gift
2020 has felt like being in a time warp. The days have slowly inched along like melted wax dripping down a candle. But the year also gives us a sense of a candle extinguished too soon; how is it December already? The arrival of the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, reminds us that time is a gift — and we should make the most of it.
The solstice offers us a moment to pause, rest, and ruminate on the past year and the year ahead. Sometimes when time is short or when something new is starting, we think these are the last things we should be doing. But really, reflection and mindfulness can go a long way in setting you up for success. When you’re prepared, you’re more productive.
Review the Days That Have Passed
How did you use your time in this year? Did you learn a new hobby? Did you procrastinate? There’s no point in agonizing over what could have been. But there are still opportunities to learn, and when we learn, we can make changes for the future. What are some things you learned this year that you can apply in 2021?
Perhaps some of us dealt with challenges that tested our patience. By reflecting, we can see whether we grew from these experiences, or we discovered we might want to practice a different response to these situations next time. Noticing when you begin to feel agitated and impatient is a way to prompt this shift.
Another thing many of us faced was dealing with changes outside our control. This relates to patience, but focuses more on whether things happen the way you expect them to. You can’t control traffic jams or whether stores have toilet paper in stock. But instead of reacting negatively, take a step back and think about what you can control. You can use the extra time in the traffic jam to listen to your favorite songs; you can call a different store to check on what they have in stock. Adjusting your focus can change your experience into a more positive one.
Visualize Your Future
What do you want 2021 to look like? More family time? Less lazing around? Keep in mind you can start working toward a goal anytime. If you set a goal on Jan. 1 and feel like you’ve failed mid-January, that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Nothing is stopping you from trying again. And there’s no rule that you must start working toward something at the beginning of a year, month, or particular day of the week. Do what works for you!
Time is an arbitrary measurement that has nothing to do with your accomplishments. Some people train for their first marathon after age 50! Others cooked their first complete homemade meal this year after years of eating out. All you can do is make the most of time, and that means not allowing it to control you by making you think certain times are for certain activities.
As you work toward goals, pause throughout the day and take note of what you’re thinking and feeling. Bringing self-awareness to your days can help you reach your goals — including mindfully spending time the way you want.
Through all this reflection, keep realistic expectations. Know that there is no single right way to make the most of your time. It’s different for everyone. Take steps that make you feel good about yourself and that work for you; don’t worry about where you think you should be compared to the experiences of others.
On the solstice we remember there is a time for everything as life cycles through its phases. So what’s the next step in your journey? Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is here alongside you, whatever your journey looks like.
About Wounded Warrior Project
Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more.