A New Year, like everything else, is new for only so long. Like a new car driven off the lot, 2013 already can be considered “used” or “pre-owned.”

But on this its third day “on the road,” the new year still retains its fresh odors, its slick feel and holds surprises galore. It also comes with an owner’s manual barely opened. Now, perhaps, is the perfect time to read the manual’s chapter on “How to Take Care of Your New Year.”

The chapter’s first directive is to live each day as it comes.

Do not be in June while it is still January. Be where the gift is – in the moment, pacing yourself so as not to miss any of what a moment may offer.

Second directive: Make certain the past is in its place. Do not try to undo it; that cannot be done. But learn from it, then let it be. A rear-view mirror is meant to keep one aware of what is going on now … and safe. As for the future, one should wait until being there. (See first directive.) Keep your eyes wide open wherever you happen to be.

The third is all about getting comfortable for the journey. Early on make whatever adjustments you need so that time will work for you. Everyone is going somewhere and time is supposed to get one’s spirit to where it is going, so do not fight time – or aging. Embrace them both and live as if running on full. (Easier said than done.)

Fourth, share your journey with others and ask them to share theirs. No one can find the meaning of life all by oneself. Be accepting of others, no matter how different. Every person, like every day, can be full of surprises. One’s world can be as wide as one’s heart is open.      

Fifth, and finally, be realistic. 2013 does not come bubble-wrapped. There will be dings and disasters along the way.
There is no insurance to cover them, only one’s spirit. Time may be a gift but it also tests one’s character.

Each day is about living, every moment about choice. Remember: one creates a life by the choices one makes, as well as those one does not. (A choice not made is also a choice.)

Therefore, live carefully … but not too carefully. Sometimes, one’s mistakes are life’s best teacher.

Do not be seduced by perfection.

     The days ahead, like the three behind, will be what one makes of them, or what one does not.  Either way, 2013 is meant to be a going-forward experience. Every now is a stepping stone into tomorrow. Put words to your dreams; they can be the beginning of having dreams come true. After all, what is a New Year for?