Looking at ‘lively candles’

The dawn of a new year prompts both individuals and groups to review events, make observations and re-evaluate plans, a process that is rarely a balanced one. When people feel creative and believe themselves to be at the peak of their powers, they review the previous year as a means of benefiting from their experience, and above all as a way of learning from their mistakes, with the emphasis on future plans. A re-evaluation of this kind is based on improving, or even changing completely what has become a way of life. However, when people begin to feel exhausted and powerless, they focus more on the past, whether to glorify and look back on the «good old days that are gone forever,» or in bitter disappointment over their lost youth and dreams of a better future. This lack of balance between reviewing the past and planning for the future, between memories of the past and visions for the future, indicates a person’s transition from the battleground to the reserve ranks, and one which these days has less to do with age than with a person’s will and mood. It is a question of hope, dynamism and the drive for a better tomorrow, against disappointment, giving up the fight and compromising with a poorer past. There are tireless battlers as well as voluntary «reservists» of all ages. In this battle, withdrawal is only voluntary. «Early retirement» is something we get only if we ask for it. So let us all wish each other a good and creative year, looking ahead, as Cavafy wrote, at the row of «golden, warm, and lively little candles,» rather than at the «cold candles, melted, and bent» of days past.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.