Themes of years in my life emerge sometimes through self-reflection of the past year. This type of a year’s theme can act as an umbrella that the collective activities, opportunities, and my life fit under in a thematic way.

Sometimes a year’s theme develops in an internal sense of anticipation and a feeling or sense for where the coming year will take me. This type of expectation of my coming year’s theme can provide a sense of awareness for how it might unfold. If I have a “best guess” of the coming year’s theme in my life, I often list it with a question mark – as if I am fully aware that unexpected turns of events may surprise me and give a unique theme for the year that I hadn’t seen coming.

Thinking of years in a thematic way provides a sense of growth. Because it is an individual, mental activity, it generally is most meaningful to the writer. For example, when I reflect on the themes of recent years in my life, it’s probably only me who quickly knows the backdrop for why each theme best captures the essence of that year.

My 2007 theme: Preparation; 2008 theme: Completion; 2009 theme: Devotion; my anticipated theme for 2010: Ambition.

Considering the themes of years helps me leverage the belief that life is a collection of seasons. Reflecting on each year around the end and beginning of the calendar year allows me to use that convenient calendaring system to view each year as a season or bucket of life. Looking ahead to the coming year and creating the theme I anticipate provides a sense of focus for the year.

What was the theme of your last year? What do you anticipate the guiding theme of your new year will be?