Today on the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, we start the year of 5773. At the start of the year we are told many things. Most frequently we are wished a sweet, happy, and healthy new year. We are also told that this is when we get to wipe the slate clean and start over fresh with a new year, that is supposed to be the best year yet! This is usually an exciting prospect for most people who look forward to putting the bad things from the past behind them. For me as a writer, starting with a blank page is down right terrifying. No writer ever wants to stare at nothing and try and create something out of it.
When I write everything always starts with an idea - a spark that eventually blooms into a wildfire. I never start with a blank slate because I already have a foundation to work off of. So when I'm told I get a fresh start I cringe a bit because I don' know where to begin. Don't get me wrong there are many things from the past year that I will be happy to leave behind, but there are also many things from last year that I also don't want to forget. In fact the past year has been pretty amazing. I've accomplished so many wonderful things and have so many more things to look forward to.
So this year as I started to think about what I will do with my blank slate, I realized that like my writing, I didn't want to start from nothing. The thought of leaving behind all those good things made me sad. As I look ahead to this year I want to do something different. I'm consciously choosing to leave all the bad behind, while remembering all the lessons I learned from it, but I'm also choosing to grab up all the good from the past year and carry it with me into this new year. I want to take all the good things that I'm grateful for and use it as a foundation to build an even better year to come. Just like my writing starting with a great idea, I'm choosing to start my year with all the wonderful things from my past. And as I remember all the good from last year, I've found I have a great stepping stone to build an even better year.
So to all those starting the new year, (and even those just looking for a new beginning) I challenge you to reflect on your past and gather up all the things you are thankful for and carry them into the new year. We shouldn't have to start from nothing, and when we remember that even in the worst of times there is a silver lining then we truly have the makings for the best year yet.
Wishing everyone a L'shana Tova!