Carol Silver Elliott

Ringing In the New Year

It’s that time.  You know, the time when the ball drops, when we change our calendars to January and try to remember that it is now 2023 and not 2022.  It’s a time when people make resolutions, promises to themselves, most of which are quickly forgotten but some of which, for at least some of us, manage to stick and even make a difference.

For many, resolutions focus on health.  I suspect that any number of us have been in the gym in January and seen the big crowds . . . that rarely last until February.  Weight loss programs, too, see increases in membership as folks regret the holiday excesses and look for ways to get a fresh start. Whatever our personal goals, to stop something (like quit smoking) or start something (like learn a new skill), the first of the year seems to serve as that magical moment, the stake we put in the ground to mark whatever change it is that we are planning to make.

As a bit of an experiment, I asked some of the members of our team what their resolutions were for the coming year.  As you would expect, there were a few who cited health as primary, with a variety of actions they have planned.  But many of the responses were in areas other than health.  One individual cited “personal growth” as their 2023 goal, recognizing that—especially in the last few years—our roles in our workforce and with our families have, of necessity, “squeezed out” the time we might devote to our own development. Recognizing that also involves creating the time and making the commitment to do something about it.

Other resolutions were focused on the emotional, spiritual side of life as well.  Several people indicated their desire to “practice gratitude,” to remember to always be thankful.  Others talked about living in the moment and remembering that being present is vital.  Making a real effort not to be consumed by the past or anxious about the future is harder than it sounds but so valuable as we stay focused on the now and give those in our life our full attention.  One I particularly loved was the resolve for 2023 to “stay in the light.” We all have moments of darkness and this resolution is focused on moving through the darkness as quickly as possible and, instead, filling our hearts with joy and gratitude and love.

For our team, having survived a couple of very tough years, I am not surprised that many of the resolutions are focused internally, on relationships and on appreciation.  We have all been reminded of how fragile life is, how quickly it can change.  We all know that we are survivors, that we have walked through fire and come out the other side. And what we have learned is that what is in our hearts is the most important, that gratitude and relationships and light cannot be taken for granted and must be where we live and where we choose to live.

About the Author
Carol Silver Elliott is President and CEO of The Jewish Home Family, which runs NJ's Jewish Home at Rockleigh, Jewish Home Assisted Living, Jewish Home Foundation and Jewish Home at Home. She joined The Jewish Home Family in 2014. Previously, she served as President and CEO of Cedar Village Retirement Community in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is past chair of LeadingAge and the Association of Jewish Aging Services.
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