As we ring in the new year and say goodbye to the previous one, I am reminded of the beginning and the end of the life cycle and how they are mirror images of one another.
We come into this world crying, laying in a cradle, completely dependent on others for our basic needs, and vulnerable to their care. There is joy when we’re born.
As we grow and develop, we slowly learn to become more independent and able to care for ourselves. We want to explore life with its endless possibilities and opportunities. We’re at our strongest physically and mentally. We have peaked. Much of life is about the self.
When we hit middle age, we begin to decline in body and mind. With the recognition that there may be more days behind us than before us, we find a renewed sense of purpose to make the most of the time we have left and create opportunities to spend it with the people who we love. We’ve gained wisdom. Much of life becomes about the other.
At the end of our life, we are once again reliant on others to attend to our basic needs, and completely vulnerable to their care. And when we leave the world, our loved ones cry as they lay us down to rest in a casket and say goodbye for the last time. There is profound sadness.
This is our common humanity. And the glue that binds us together is relationships. It is in relationships that we are brought into this world. It is in relationships that we are nurtured as we grow. It is in relationships that we receive care as we decline. It is relationships that bonds us so deeply that we don’t want to say the final goodbye.
So, as we start the new year and reflect on the past year, whatever life stage you are at, contemplate the relationships you have had throughout your live—the relationships that have made you who you are today. It’s a time to cherish the relationships you have with those you love, make the most of the time you have left with them, and leave a lasting legacy for those who come after you.