Sunday, January 1, 2023

A Clean Slate (#MY Eng 72)

This is part of a running series about English idioms - less about language, more about life itself. Previously, we covered 'missing the woods for the trees', 'the elephant in the room', 'practising what you preach', blowing hot and cold', 'no smoke without fire', 'one swallow does not make a summer', 'apples and oranges', 'cut to the chase', 'leave no stone unturned', 'that's the way the cookie crumbles', 'can't have your cake and eat it too', 'old is gold', 'putting the cart before the horse', 'mountain out of a molehill', 'pot calling the kettle black', 'bite the bullet', 'go the extra mile', 'silence is golden', 'the devil is in the details', 'sink or swim', 'once bitten twice shy', 'don't count your chickens before they hatch', 'don't put all your eggs into one basket', 'chicken and egg', 'walking on eggshells', 'flogging a dead horse', 'better late than never', 'storm in a teacup', 'between a rock and a hard place', 'darkest before dawn', 'empty vessels make the most noise', 'birds of a feather flock together', 'separate the wheat from the chaff', 'let sleeping dogs lie', 'open a can of worms', 'light at the end of the tunnel', 'trial and error', 'look before you leap', 'lightning in a bottle', 'on the same page', don't judge a book its cover', 'reinvent the wheel', 'shifting gears', 'throwing in the towel', 'jump on the bandwagon', 'passing the buck', 'breaking the ice', 'cracking the code', 'when it rains it pours', 'bigger fish to fry', 'ball is in your court', 'back to the drawing board', 'square peg in a round hole', 'don't rock the boat', 'a whole new ball game', 'burning the midnight oil', 'never say never', 'get all your ducks in a row', 'make the hay while the sun shines', 'tick all the boxes', 'a leopard cannot change its spots', 'fools rush in', 'final straw that broke the camel's back', 'tip of iceberg', 'hold the fort', 'draw a line in the sand', 'sour grapes', 'missing the mark', 'a walk in the park', 'seat at the table' and 'trust your gut'.

A year comes to a close, and a new one begins.

A milestone. A time reset. A moment of reflection.

How did we perform at work or school in the past year? Has life been good? All goals achieved?

A post-mortem. A KPI review. An honest assessment of our hits and missess, weaknesses and strengths, successes and failures, peaks of happiness and depths of despair.

* * *

Truth be told, I'm usually not big on making New Year's resolution.

For me, the passing from 31 December to 1 January every year is just like any other stroke of midnight. The sun sets in the west and rises in the east. The cycle continues every day. The number assigned to days, months and years are merely artificial constructs of humanity for the sake of societal order.

And yet, the year 2022 has somewhat been special in many ways. Never have I experienced so many highs and lows in the space of 365 days. The year will definitely go down in memory as one of the turning points of my lifetime.

I won't list down all the milestones here. I've de-personalised this blog (for want of a better word) a long time ago. Actually, it's never been that personal to begin with. Yes, there are many personal anecdotes shared. But I've taken intricate care to anonymise the characters and refrained from sharing too many details that will allow for indirect identification. For the sake of protecting the privacy of myself and others.

Now that a new year has begun, I find myself rather uncharacteristically thinking about what changes should I make to my life and public persona in the year to come.

* * *

Why the change in policy from not making resolutions? Maybe it's due to aging. I'm not getting any younger. My time on Earth is running out. No time to live someone else's life (and hopefully, no time to die?). Time to live each day with a greater sense of purpose and direction.

Time to set annual goals, or even quarterly ones? Maybe. I already have an ikigai, and have a habit of setting very detailed time-sensitive milestones for work and personal projects. It's just a matter of filling in more details - and perhaps, setting even loftier ambitions.

I haven't quite figured out what those goals are just yet. But I should get things firmed up by the end of January. And the goals needs to be publicised - to turn up the pressure to perform and ensure greater self-accountability. Not here, of course - but in the right channels.

Goodbye, 2022. The last 365 days had been a tumultous back-and-forth journey from heaven to hell. Hopefully, in 2023, I'll be chilling more on Cloud Nine rather than languishing in the Nine Circles of Hell...

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