New year…new start…

There’s something about “January”–just saying the name of the month–that brings with it promise.

There’s a whole new year stretching out in front of you…a clean slate and a fresh start. The “stuff” of the past year has been wiped away and we’ve got a chance to try to get it right again this year.

Yes, we’ll make mistakes. That’s part of being human.

But when we talk about a clean slate, that’s hope. Probably many of us aren’t really aware of what that term means. There’s a couple of possibilities that I’ve heard, both related to the education field. Before notebook paper, students did lessons on a slate board with chalk. If you made a mistake, it wasn’t easy to correct! Also, students who got in trouble had their names listed on the slate board. Each night, the slate was wiped clean–either from the lessons of the day or from the names of the miscreant students–and the next day started with a clean slate. The mistakes were no longer visible, and there was a chance for a fresh start.

And so this month gives us a clean slate. It’s possible to focus on the mistakes of the past year–but it’s far more productive to see this as an opportunity to start fresh. A short statement I read in a magazine quite a while ago said “The past is a signpost, not a destination.” Rather than getting stuck in the issues / problems of the past year, the mistakes we’ve made in the past can point us toward a different direction…a new start.

Let’s take advantage of the clean slate we have this month!