The Turning of the Page

Categories Growing, Learning, Self, Thinking

I don’t necessarily believe in putting the past behind me.

I suppose I do to a point; there are simply some things upon which it is fruitless to dwell. We certainly cannot change the past, but for better or worse, our past remains forever a part of who and where we are today. At the same time, though, we need to turn the page and move on to the next part of our story. It is not progress to throw down the book and stop reading because the events of a particular chapter are not as we might like. If we do not continue to move forward, we will never find out what the next chapter brings.

Making the transition from past to future feels much like turning the pages of a book. Once we’ve moved beyond each paragraph, page, and chapter, the words we have read remain part of our experience. They affect us, change us, and help us make sense of the next thing we read. Likewise, the words we have yet to read lie before us waiting to be taken in, savored, and made part of our experience. The only thing that comprises our present is right now, the moment in which we turn the page and move from what has been to what is yet to be.

As we turn the page from 2016 into 2017, I find myself tremendously grateful. This has been a good year for me and for my family in so many ways. We are healthy. We are safe. We have enough of all the things we need to sustain us and then some. We are blessed with friends and family near and far who love us. We have grown as individuals and as a family. I could not be more thankful. And while my little brood has certainly had our share of challenges and disappointments, I know that we have soldiered through and made great strides toward accomplishing our goals.

I am painfully aware that there is much trouble and sorrow in the world right now. I am aware that many people have found 2016 to be a harrowing year in many respects. Too many are not healthy or safe. Too many are lonely and separated from loved ones by distance or other means. Too many live in fear and pain. I suppose knowing this makes me appreciate even more the good that we have felt this year after several years of challenges for all of us.

In 2016, I chose the words Calm and Control to guide me through my days. While I will very likely never call myself a calm person, I definitely think that I have found a better sense of both inner and outer calm this year. I also realize that it is nigh unto impossible to be in control of every (or really any) aspect of life, but I have found strategies to help me better manage what aspects I can. I am better for it. My family is better for it. Better is good.

I would not say that any of us is “finished.” Like Franklin and Thoreau and Emerson and so many others, I believe that living life as a work progress is a good thing. Rather than striving for a state of completion or finality, the human spirit thrives when striving always to better the Self. As I look back over the words I’ve chosen each year for the last several, I can see how each one continues to weave in and out of the ways I think and live. Focus. Focus. (Yes, I chose this one twice.) Progress. Calm and Control.  Like all else, while they may not be my primary tasks, they remain with me.

And now it is time to look and move forward. As I turn the page on this year and begin the next, I know my word for the year will be Balance. I find myself saying it often lately and so it must be on my mind, at least subconsciously.

Balance is necessary in all things and balance exists in all things. There is no darkness without light, no failure without success, no sadness without joy. We all worry about how to balance home and work life, kids and relationships, work and play, family time and alone time, eating well and enjoying a pizza…and so much more. As we move forward in a world filled with so many things to worry and frighten each of us, I know it is important to seek the good and the positive, to find the balance that absolutely exists.

To focus solely on what is terrible can only prove harmful, just as never turning the page of a book can only leave the end of the story unknown. I, for one, would rather keep reading. I want to know what happens. I want to know how the story ends. And then I want to read another…and another…

At this time of year it is easy to talk about starting over and making goals. But I believe that every month, every day, sometimes every hour is an opportunity for a fresh start and a new goal. If moving through life is like turning the pages of a book, then there is always another page to turn, another story to tell, another book to read.

There will be challenges ahead; I believe they are necessary to help us find the victories. And so I wish each of you a story filled with challenges that will ultimately bring you health, happiness, love, and (perhaps most of all) peace in the days ahead.


Lisa A. Listwa is a self-employed writer with experience in education, publishing, and the martial arts. Believing there was more to life than punching someone else’s time clock and inspired by the words of Henry David Thoreau, she traded her life as a high school educator for a life as a writer and hasn’t looked back. She is mother to one glorious handful of a daughter, wife to the nicest guy on the planet, and reluctant but devoted owner of three Rotten Cats. You can find her adventures and thoughts on living life deliberately here on the blog.

15 thoughts on “The Turning of the Page

  1. It’s interesting to look back and see how these little words changed us in the previous years and moving forward. I do really like your word choice for the year ahead. Still struggling to settle on my word for 2017 although I have it narrowed down to 5 choices. By the way, the new (?I hope…I’m not the most observant at times) blog background is really nice as well.

    1. Hi, Jean! Happy new year to you! Looking forward to catching up and seeing what word you settle on. I may have chosen mine in a bit of haste, but it just felt instantly right when I happened upon it. So I’m going with it.
      The background is new-ish and I have more changes coming this month!

  2. I like the book metaphor. Probably because I love books.


    In a way, New Year’s is just another day, but on the other hand, we do need markers, like chapters in a book, for our lives. Nobody would want to read a book that was all victories I suppose. I will keep reading, for better or for worse, but I am glad 2016 was such a positive year for your family Lisa. It was a wonderful one for myself as well, even as I read over and over how most wished 2016 would just end already. Strange to be against the grain like that. I have no way of guessing how this new year will progress, but I have more hope for my own life. Lots of big things to come and I hope balance is achievable for you. My mantra for 2017 is “brave enough” and I am not sure if this is a question or not. Depends on the day. Sometimes it is a statement I am making. I will go to Mexico and travel there by myself later this month and I will find the courage necessary to face my fears. I will celebrate reaching a giant milestone in June and I will surpass it. I will break records some day, and it starts with twenty years since my transplant. I will keep playing violin, no matter how hard or challenging. I know you will continue to write and take care of yourself and your family and your world. I hope the US can get through this newest challenge. We can always do better, strive for something more. All the best in 2017 and I am glad I can read more of your story here in the coming year.

    1. I’m right with you, Kerry. I’m sure the book metaphor comes from my love of books and words. Who and what we are permeates all aspects of life, I suppose.
      I guess there are people who prefer stories that are all good and have happy endings. Personally, I love a good challenge and I like to see characters work through them as well. Art mirrors life and allows us to learn how we might choose to act in life when faced with similar circumstances. I believe that wholeheartedly.
      I like your chosen mantra and I know there are fabulous things on the horizon for you. Believe that you are brave. And if you don’t feel it? Do the things that scare you anyway. You’ll be glad you did.
      I’ll definitely be back here on this blog AND in a new space, too – more on that coming soon.

  3. This is excellent, I agree with it. I definitely agree that balance is achievable. I think of it as the two-winged bird that surely cannot fly with just one or the other, he must learn to use both in tandem, a balancing act of sorts. It is easy for us to remain rigidly in one spot, or to flip back and forth without any real conviction, but to find that center point and function there comfortably, that surely is the road to peace. I wish you well on the journey, my friend.

    1. Took me a minute to figure out this was you! I love the bird image – exactly like that! And birds must always adjust for things like wind and keep going. I’ll be over to catch up with you probably tomorrow. Bad sleeping night last night and a completely messed up day today. I’m chalking it up to “is what it is,” going to bed early, and starting fresh again tomorrow. Another page… xo

  4. Lovely post, Lisa – and I love your word for 2017. It conjures up the image of an old-fashioned scale – too much on one side (of anything, really) can weigh you down. I’m glad 2016 was a good year for your family, and I hope this year is even better!

  5. Balance is a great word for 2017 and every day. I agree that we should reflect and consider every day – not just when there’s a milestone like a new date on our calendars. I’m glad that 2016 ended up being good for you and your family and hope that 2017 continues to be good for you all (and also hope that this is the year I meet you in person!!!). xoxo

  6. Interesting analogy Lisa, time passing as the pages of a book. We all tell stories about our lives and it’s so easy to filter those stories and start to see them as real and who we are. But as you point out, we need balance, to focus on the positive as well as the negative, the dark and light, good and bad etc. I’m actually writing a post right now that says that…

    Happy New Year to you, even if it’s a week late!

    1. Yes, Happy New Year a week late to you, too, Yvonne! So glad to know you! It’s been a crazy few weeks around here (OK couple of months, really) and I’m still trying to get my feet planted firmly on the ground again. For tonight, I need to curl up with a bowl of popcorn and something warm to drink and finish a library book that is so overdue it’s embarrassing. I’m looking forward to reading and writing more this year and deepening the great relationships I’ve found through the same. Catch up soon!

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