The Old, The New, The Balance
January 1st, 2019
January 1st - the first day of a new year is quite something. Just after the stardust of the holidays has settled, the vibe of the virgin new year is in the air, expectations, hopes and also concerns are coming up. The new and untouched is ahead of us - exciting and challenging at the same time. And yet, when we return to work tomorrow or next week, we will return to the old, as the same person - but yet to a new start.
Just a few days ago when we ran around in the “old” year, closing projects, spending the remaining budgets of last year, defining the new ones at the same time, planning family celebrations … we almost seemed to doubt if January 1st and with it the new year was actually going to happen. We got caught up in getting Christmas presents and last-minute groceries, in setting the stage for the holidays, in “finishing up”. And now everything is about embracing the new and leaving the old behind – what a roller-coaster ride!
My motto for 2019 is balance, and especially balancing the old and the new. At the end of last year, I made a big change myself, I decided to quit my job as the Head of Learning & Development of a market-leading company to take a year off for exploration, for self-development and to impact people’s life in the most positive way possible with my psychology background. I’m telling you, it was a really hard decision: I love the company and especially the people I worked with, overall, I led a happy life, a lot of the old was good but still - something was missing in this past of mine.
Once the decision was made, it would have been easy – and actually convenient for me – to draw a line and start over, just like that. But that’s not really me. Learning from the past, from all those experiences, reflecting on the traditions and the culture which have formed my life was always key to me and I promised myself to actively take the past with me, to bring it into the future – with deliberation, thoughtfulness and mindfulness.
When you are in the middle of a big change like this your sensors are in a different mode and all the sudden you see things around you which you wouldn’t necessarily had noticed before. A couple of days ago right after Christmas I went for an early morning run with one of my best friends. We see each other two to three times a year – if we’re very lucky – because she lives in Germany and I in the US; she in my old beloved “Heimat”, I in my chosen one, in the New York metropolitan area, which is equally beloved by both of us. Running through a gorgeous park in Erfurt, Germany, a city with a lot of history, tradition and a story to tell we came across this “Jungbrunnen” and we stopped to refresh with the pure and cold water coming through those old pipes. How can such old pipes deliver something that fresh and energizing and even be called a “young fountain” which is the literal translation of “Jungbrunnen”, we asked ourselves. Maybe a banal question but somehow, we were both intrigued by the apparent contrast of the “Jungbrunnen”, its old pipes and the refreshing water coming out of them. In mythology the “Jungbrunnen” is often described or shown as a bath which you enter old, exhausted or tired on one side and get out of young, beautiful and full of energy on the other side. Awesome, right? Don’t we all wish for that? Refreshed, maybe more beautiful and with lots more energy into the new year, that’s something we can all identify with but aren’t we still the same person with the same feelings, skills, concerns and yes, flaws, than a day before? Of course, we are!
Therefore, I like to think about our past and future and especially about the new year in the picture of the “Jungbrunnen”. We step inside, naturally carrying with us both, the treasures and burdens of the past. We take a plunge and we get out on the other side with new hopes, with new energy and full of “let’s go” which is totally a good thing. New year’s resolutions are great, they help us follow what’s important to us. But even more important to me is to integrate our new ideas into what we ARE already by appreciating our past, where we have come from and who we are as whole, including our age, our bodies, our minds and our spirit. This is how the “Jungbrunnen” makes perfect sense to me. And to you?
Wishing you that your new year’s resolutions are inspirations for worthwhile and meaningful changes which help you to be balanced and fulfilled but don’t intend to turn you upside down and that find your “Jungbrunnen” which nurtures you as the whole beautiful human being who you are. May the new year be a happy, healthy and successful one for you!
The author, Sonja Kirschner, is 40 years old, originally from Mannheim, Germany which she left 5 years ago to work and live in the New York metropolitan area. She has worked in different Human Resources roles for 15 years, all of them focusing on the development of people. Currently, she is in the process of getting her coaching certification. She has a master’s degree in Psychology and loves supporting people to reach their life goals. Please leave a comment or send a PM to connect.