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  • bethanyzerbert

New Eyes, New Year: Why Life Doesn't Want You to Give Up

“There is something incredibly hopeful about a fresh start. I suppose at one time or another we have all

wanted to start again with a clean slate.”1


I notice it most profoundly when the New Year comes around. I always get a feeling of hope. The clean slate feeling is more pronounced, and my drive to improve myself and achieve my goals and not mess up is stronger. Most people tend to feel similarly at this time of year, I think.

I think that we, as human beings, need that feeling. Life seems to be based around events that have the potential to give us this feeling of hope, as if life is consistently encouraging us to not give up. Some of these times are:

  • The new year (Who doesn’t make resolutions for self-improvement at this time? I love it.)

  • New months. (I always resolve to track my expenses better each month.)

  • The start of a new week. (I use the religious practice of taking the sacrament weekly as a time to review my week and take a personal inventory of where I’m at spiritually and behaviorally.)

  • When the sun rises every day. (I feel this one more if I take advantage of my mornings.)

There are also other, more sporadic events in life that can give this feeling. Like,

  • Moving to a new place

  • Starting a new job

  • A really good house cleaning

  • Marriage, or having a new baby

And a myriad of other life events that I’m not going to be able to fully list. As for me, I just had my first child only seven weeks ago, and, like many others, I find the presence of babies supremely refreshing. I think it’s because of their cleanness and purity. They exude this “fresh start-ness”. No mistakes. No worries. No sin. And they share some of that with us when we interact with them.

I believe these times of freshness are so important for us as humans because life is so messy and difficult. The most pessimistic, downer people I know are those who have stifled the ability to recognize these moments of newness and take advantage of them. People can’t progress without hope. Thank goodness that life is fraught with these moments of clean beginnings. As the French writer Marcel Proust said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

This year, I hope to have “new eyes” enough to recognize, appreciate, and use these moments of hope when they come along.

1. Deiter F. Uchtdorf “The Best Time to Plant a Tree” Ensign magazine. January 2014

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