It's never a bad time to reflect, as regular readers will know, I love a good reflection, in fact, it's pretty much the entirety of what these blogs are always about. I reflect every day when I complete my personal journal, following a signficant incident in work (such as a big treatment or a notable interaction with a patient or colleague), or of course following any kind of learning. These little reflections enrich every moment, they help me remember what matters, what doesn't, what I can learn and sometimes what I should forget.
There are certain times in a year or in a lifetime though that feel particularly apt for reflection, Christmas and New Year being pertinant at this point in time.
Reflection isn't done to dwell on the past, in fact, it's precisely the opposite. It's processing events that have happened, in order for us to move on, to learn, grow and improve. It's about exploring how we felt or reacted in a given moment, so we can enjoy the present more. Life is after all, one long continuum of present moments.
The quirky thing about reflection is that you can do it prospectively too. My favourite being the death bed reflection. Picture yourself, old and grey, having lived the life path that you seem to be taking at the moment, and ask yourself:
What do I wish I'd done more of?
What do I wish I'd done less of?
Who do I wish I'd spent more time with?
And who or what do I really wish I hadn't wasted any time on?
A few moments quiet contemplation on these questions may tell you an awful lot about your values and whether you're living them.
So, even if you're not quite as keen to geek out on reflecting as I am, perhaps as this year draws in, you'll take a moment to think back on the year. Maybe, take a moment to reflect on whether the life you're living is one you'll have answers to those questions that you're not happy with. And if so, what simple changes you make in this moment, so that next year, you're one step closer to reflecting on a life well spent.