Monday, January 01, 2007

A new year ahead of us

I am not going to look back. I am very much aware of the past year and hope to have learned from it to carry on in the next year.

Why is it that January the first is such a magic date? And why is it that at the end of each year, people all of a sudden realize that they have to change habits in the next year?

Is January the first a fresh start for whatever plan? Are our memories wandering back to a year ago when we also had intentions for the new year but we didn’t fulfil any of them or just a very few?

Is it a feeling of “guilt” that we did not keep promises or the feeling that we failed although we had such great intentions to do it different this year?

I don’t have “good intentions” for 2007, I am going to continue the good intentions I start every day of my life with. And the word “life” is very important.

I got an extra life when I survived Cancer 3 years ago.
I always realized how special life is but after the Cancer, life got more colourful, more special, more precious.
Waking up and being alive, makes me feel alive, makes me feel special and fortunate. Rich and wealthy and not in the sense of money or possessions. No, I feel rich and wealthy because I am here as a human being with a free spirit.

Life is vulnerable. I know that I will loose my Mother this year. It is a miracle that she is still with us. She promised everyone to at least celebrate her birthday at the 29th of January. She keeps looking forward; she doesn’t give up although she is so very tired.

I also know that my neighbour will loose his wife. Her Cancer can’t be treated and life got very difficult for her.
Yet she is always smiling. She and her husband are wonderful people. Caring and full of interest for everything what is going on in life.

Although we don’t know how much future is left for us, the future is all about chances, challenges, curiosity, learning, dreaming.
We don’t live if we don’t dream about a future. Dreaming keeps us going. Not all our dreams come true but that doesn’t matter. We can dream new dreams and work out new plans. As long as you are aware of “life” there is a future. I am not just talking about years to come although I hope so. Sometimes it is only a day, a week, a month.
But tomorrow is already future.

One of my friends used this phrase as a mood message on Skype: “Everything changes when you change” – Jim Rohn.
How true this is. If you are afraid of changing your life, all will stay the same. You are missing out with the challenges, crossing borders, meeting (interesting) people. Apart from maybe some changes in the street you live in, regulations and colleagues at work, your life will stay the same. Until you die.
To me that feels as a very, very long life.

“Everything changes when you change” Try, start with a spontaneous smile. People smile back at you and the sun starts shining. So well understood by a little girl I met in the Hospital waiting to see my surgeon,
This little girl was not even 3 years old. She looked lovely, a little toddler with her little hands on her back.
She had a very serious look on her face until she stood in front of me. She looked at me and smiled. Not just a simple smile, no, one that went from ear to ear, little lights in her eyes.
I smiled back, laughed and for me the sun started to shine in that corridor in the Hospital.
Her Mum told me it was her daughters favourite game. And a very successful game. Everything changed by her smile.

This morning I watched on tv the profile of one of our famous stand up comedians
Youp van’t Hek.
I am not one of his admirers but he has some very real and true sketches.
The interviewer asked him if he was afraid of death because he is hyperactive. No, Youp said. No, not at all but I wan to live a life before death. Truly live…

We are living in a fast world, stressful even. There are two forms of stress: negative and positive. We need the positive stress to develop adrenaline to be able to achieve.
The negative stress is a useful warning system to calm down. We need to listen to our warning system to be able to live a real life. We only have one life, we can’t do it again and again and again. Unless you believe in re-incarnation which I don’t.
I admit immediately that I occasionally have been burning the candle on both sides and I know there are some more candles to come. But I also know how to retreat, to gain energy, to give my body the rest to continue fulfilling dreams and goals. I have so many of those. Too many, I could do with an extra life!

I still have a future and I am using this future for the best. Exploring new roads, dreaming new dreams, finding new goals.
Tomorrow is the second day of the new year but not the second day of a new life. Tomorrow is future, always day one.

Happy New Year to all of you, may all your dreams come true.


  1. Well - that is indeed a thought provoking post, Ike and makes for compelling reading.
    I am of the same mind in that I do not like looking back - always forward!
    My mother taught me that from an early age.
    In order to overcome adversity it is so important to maintain a positive attitude to life.
    This was brought home to me a few years ago when, after enjoying a very active life I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and am now confined to a wheelchair.
    But it's by no means the end of the world!
    I don't feel sorry for myself and I certainly don't want others to pity me.
    I lead a full life and, most importantly, have a wife with the patience of a saint.
    I spend quite a lot of time at my computer and contribute to several Forums (ncluding Skype, of course)which keeps me busy.
    I also undertake some councelling work at our local MS Therapy Center which I enjoy and, hopefully, am able to help some newly diagnosed people come to terms with their MS condition.
    It's all part of keeping a positive outlook on life.
    If people can maintain that mindset, seemingly difficult and unsurmountable problems can quickly become much more manageable.
    So - yes Ike, I can empathize with you very much!
    Although 2007 may bring some sad times, I'm sure your wonderfully positive attitude will help to lighten the load.
    All the best for 2007!
    Norman Musgrave.

  2. Thank you Norman for your positive post.
    Yes, looking forward is important and one is so much stronger then one thinks. If you are pushing your own borders you will find that you can handle much more then you you ever thought you could.

    If one door is closed, two will open.

  3. Anonymous3:55 am

    Thanks, same to you! :)

  4. Yaakov Mascetti8:59 am

    Ike: your blog on the New Year is definitely thought provoking and very genuine. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    I'd like to share with you my thoughts on this issue - One of the terrible things about Western culture is that it has removed birth and death from our daily lives, from our world-picture. Such that we are born and we die in removed loci of our societies - birth and death are things to be kept out of our sight. I have a five-year-old son who has already begun asking difficult questions: one of them is "Dad, are you going to die?" All I can do is try to make him understand that one day I will die, whether sooner or later, together with teaching him the fact that death is, paradoxically, part of our lives. Live must be lived, as you say in your blog, genuinely, fully, and experienced as closely as possible. And so must death.

  5. Thank you Yaakov.

    There is no death without birth. Life starts with birth and ends with death, how could we exlude that from living?

    Isn't it that people close their eyes for reality?
    If you are aware of the fact your life is not endless, you will live it more intense (my thoughts and my experience) and you will be more careful with not only your own health, but also that of others.


  6. Yaakov Mascetti8:21 pm

    Absolutely Ike. Thanks for your wise words. Y