I love a new year. I love the thought of new beginnings. It’s like a fresh blanket of snow that hasn’t been blemished by footprints or the touch of living things. It’s possibility. It’s hope.

And little by little we make our prints. We make it what we want it to be. Because, ultimately, the only thing we have control of is our choices.

It’s what separates us from the animals, isn’t it? They operate on instinct and conditioning and we operate on those things as well as being able to weigh the consequences of our choices.

I don’t normally make “resolutions” for a new year. I guess because they sound set up to fail. But this year, I will strive to make better, healthier, wiser choices. Strive to look at each new day like I look at this brand new year – unblemished and full of new mercies, opportunities, possibilities, and hope. Recognize that I HAVE a choice in all situations, even if it only involves choosing what my attitude will be. Because sometimes that choice alone can make or break a situation.

I will choose to continue learning. After 2 and a half years of higher education, I’d love to just sit back and let my brain go on autopilot for a while. But to stop learning, to stop seeking, is to stop growing as a person. So I choose to continue to challenge myself.

I will choose to be content. I may never attain the level of success that I want. I may never be able to do all of the things I imagine. But I will choose to be content in the blessings of my life because they already exceed all that I could have hoped for. Anything else is just extra.

I will choose love. When my daughter continues to grow into adolescence and rolls her eyes at me and my husband goes silent and refuses to open up and people let me down and ignorance seems rampant…..I will choose love. I will choose unconditional love.

I will choose to come back to these words when the days get long and the work gets hard and my spirit becomes hardened. I will choose to remind myself of my own words and I will choose to heed them.