Starting Afresh



Mr. Tacio, who hails from Davao, is a correspondent of the Asian edition of Reader’s Digest. He is the first and only Filipino journalist to have been elevated to the Hall of Fame in science reporting by the Philippine Press Institute. In 1999, the Rotary Club of Manila bestowed him the Journalist of the Year award. He is also East Asia’s contributing editor of the People & the Planet based in London.

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How times flies!

It seems forever but before you know it, the 366 days of 2016 are gone. They won’t return and what remains are just memories – sad, happy, memorable, and those you really want to forget.

There were days that you wanted to prolong, but there days also that you want to end quickly. Time is gold, so they say. You have to spend it wisely. Merrill Douglas speaks of time as a resource, “You can’t buy it, rent it, hoard it, multiply it, make it or save it. You can only spend it.”

Starting Afresh 2One day has 24 hours and one hour has 60 minutes. “Most of us spend 58 minutes an hour living in the past with regret for lost joys, or shame for things badly done (both utterly useless and weakening) or in a future which we either long for or dread,” Margaret Storm Jameson, an English novelist, once said. “The only way to live is to accept each minute as an unrepeatable miracle, which is exactly what it is – a miracle and unrepeatable.”

Spending 365 days wisely

Let’s welcome 2017 with gladness. We have another 365 days to spend. It’s up to you how to use them. Someone described time as: “…too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is not.”

Horace Whittell, a dockworker at Gillingham, England, hated his alarm clock. Every day for 50 years, its bell had jarred him awake. For 50 years, he had longed to ignore it. For 50 years, he had felt the pressure of time. Then, he got his revenge.

On the day he retired, Mr. Whittell flattened the clock under an 80-ton hydraulic press. “It was a lovely feeling,” he said.

Like Mr. Whittell, a lot of us hated our alarm clocks at one time or another. But time is for people. Clocks and calendars exist, not as restrictions, but for our convenience. If we don’t have calendars, do you think we will know when would be our next pay day? Or our 13th month pay?

Another year is here. “The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes,” wrote G.K. Chesterton. “Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.”

Ellen Goodman has different view. “We spend January 1st by walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential.”

But for most, January 1 is the time of the year when people write what they want to accomplish for the whole year. Melody Beattie, author of “The Language of Letting Go: Daily Meditations on Codependency,” wrote:


“Make New Years’ goals. Dig within, and discover what you would like to have happen in your life this year. This helps you do your part. It is an affirmation that you’re interested in fully living life in the year to come.

“Goals give us direction. They put a powerful force into play on a universal, conscious, and subconscious level. Goals give our life direction.

“What would you like to have happen in your life this year? What would you like to do, to accomplish? What would you like to attract into your life? What particular areas of growth would you like to have happen to you? What blocks, or character defects, would you like to have removed?

“What would you like to attain? Little things and big things? Where would you like to go? What would you like to have happen in friendship and love? What would like to have happen in your family life?

“What problems would you like to see solved? What decisions would you like to make? What would you like to happen in your career?”

Those are the questions you have to answer yourself. And in order for you not to forget them, Beattie suggests: “Write it down. Take a piece of paper, a few hours of your time, and write it all down – as an affirmation of you, your life, and your ability to choose. Then, let it go.”

She ends her piece with these words: “The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.”

This year, don’t you worry about committing errors and mistakes. “Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world,” says Neil Gaiman. “You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.”

But definitely, New Year is the time for giving forgiveness. It has been said that at Grace Lutheran Church in Atlanta, Georgia, worshippers annually celebrate the end of the old year and the beginning of the new one with what they call a “burning service.”

Each member of the congregation brings to the altar a paper on which he or she has written failures and mistakes, plus changes to be made during the new year. The paper is dropped into a flaming urn.

One year, two men who had once been friends, but had quarreled over a business deal stood side by side at the altar. After dropping their papers into the urn, they got up, faced each other and shook hands.

Television personality Oprah Winfrey said it best: “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right!”