A Happy New Year!

My New Year Eve's ritual includes a half an hour put aside for reflection. We live busy lives nowadays; so much so that it might feel as if a half on hour of doing "nothing" is time stolen away from more productive activities.

But I like to steal it away anyway. 

As I believe we should have more sacred moments in our lives and that ceremony and celebration should be sought as opportunities to celebrate life.

Which in a day and age when the year review continues to include too many people killing and being killed for no good reason, too many people scarred for life, too many people other people made into empty shells of themselves, too many people starving or freezing to death one would be right to ask: Celebrate?

Yes, I answer, celebrate. As despite all the above and many more, here we are, still hopeful, still strong, still unwavering in our commitment to make this a better place for all of us.

For me, a time of reflection is a time of going back to the source and taking a sip from that fountain of life that many fellow human beings have guarded over the ages.

As Omar Khayyam puts it in his Rubaiyat:

Now the New Year reviving old Desires,
The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires,
Where the White Hand Of Moses on the Bough
Puts out, and Jesus from the Ground suspires.

Allow me to share with you a few of the things that are at the foundation of my thoughts and aspirations for the year to come.

The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr:


Give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed,

Courage to change the things which should be changed,

And the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,

Enjoying one moment at a time,

Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,

Taking, as Jesus did,

This sinful world as it is,

Not as I would have it,

Trusting that You will make all things right,

If I surrender to Your will,

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,

And supremely happy with You forever in the next.


And the poem If by Rudyard Kipling:

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too:

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,

Or being hated don't give way to hating,

And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;


If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;

If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same:.

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;


If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings,

And never breathe a word about your loss:

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"


If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much:

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,

And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!

I wish you all to stay serene, gentle, kind and loving!

A Happy New Year!

© Copyright Adrian Preda, M.D.

About the Author

Adrian Preda, M.D.

Adrian Preda, M.D., is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the UC Irvine School of Medicine.

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