What theme will steer your year?

Yesterday our family engaged in a yearly tradition that is not exactly timeless—we purchased our 2016 calendars.

As I browsed the mall kiosk I wondered what I wanted to spend the next year looking at. Obviously a calendar is great for keeping one organized, but the pictures have a way of thematically inspiring that organization. I wanted a series of pictures or themes that would correlate with what I want to do or be about this year. But what theme would help me bide my time and steer my year?calendar

I ignored the calendars of swimsuit models; fantasies, especially corrupting ones, are not a good way to start a year fresh. Since cars are depreciating transportation boxes, I ignored the car calendars also. If I want to look at a dog, I would purchase a bulldog and name him Winston; so no dog calendars. And having a movie calendar is a great way to eventually hate the movie, so I wasted no time there, either.

I did, however, spend some time considering the location calendars. Perhaps one of Ireland to wet my thirst for the Emerald Isle; or possibly one of Germany to appreciate my ancestral heritage. Maybe the Wisconsin calendar to keep connected to home; or the Milwaukee calendar for a mixture of home and heritage. Maybe the Great Lakes calendar to remember my Michigan roots. Or perhaps just a calendar of America’s most scenic landscapes.

Though I most leaned toward the Ireland calendar, ultimately these location themes weren’t doing it for me. Like Gandalf said, “The world is not in your books and maps [or calendars]; it’s out there.” If I want to see places, I’ll try to visit them. If I want 2016 to be a year of substance, it will depend on what I do.

The calendar I eventually chose featured a fine selection of Vincent Van Gogh paintings; he’s my favorite painter. I chose it because I want 2016 to be a year of creativity. Every time I see it this year, I want to be reminded that life and beauty is significantly seen in what we make. Van Gogh took everyday scenes and depicted them in a way that, um, made an impression. He showed how the average is astounding.

Whether creativity lets us bring something to life or awaken others to life, it certainly enables us to encounter life. I want to fill my 2016 with that kind of creativity.

I don’t know what theme will steer your year, but get one, because life is not about nothing. I hope your theme moves you to dig deep into yourself, mining for golden treasures just waiting to be discovered and shared.

Happy New Year!

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