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How to Reflect on a Just-Get-Through-It Year

“You aren’t going to figure it out. You’re just going to get through it.”

My friend Patricia first said to me years ago, when I was enduring sleepless nights with a cranky infant. But her words returned as I looked back over the past year, which included moving three times and navigating four school schedules and the exhilaration and stress of being in a new community with Peter’s new job and a new house and the like.

So I come to the end of this year without a long list of purposeful questions for reflection. I’m mostly just grateful for the things we “got through.” 

Still, as we turn the corner into 2024, it always helps me to return to some reflection basics:

There’s the rose/thorn/bud that our kids recommend:

  • What was one rose (beautiful/good thing) from the past year?
  • What was one thorn (hard/sad/troubling thing)?
  • What is one bud (something that is ready to grow) as you look to 2024?

Or there’s a modified version of the question Peter often asks at a dinner with colleagues: 

  • What were some shows, movies, books, or experiences that marked this year? 

Or the questions my social media coordinator and I review every week:

  • What’s one win from the past year?
  • What’s one thing you’ve learned?
  • What’s one big thing you want to accomplish in the year ahead? 

Or the wandering thoughts I have as I try to order my own thoughts:

  • What are you grateful for from 2023?
  • What brings you sorrow? 
  • What regrets do you have? How can you receive forgiveness for those and learn from them?
  • Where and when did you experience joy and peace?

Happy New Year!

More with Amy Julia:

Season of Waiting and Impossibility
Using Our Spiritual Imaginations to Envision a Good and Possible Future
My Favorite Books of 2023
2 Intentions for 2023

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