Quick fixes and abrupt changes are encouraged around this time of year. I prefer the slower perspective chosen by the Japanese painter Hokusai Katsushika:

From around the age of six, I had the habit of sketching from life. I became an artist, and from fifty on began producing works that won some reputation, but nothing I did before the age of seventy was worthy of attention. At seventy-three, I began to grasp the structures of birds and beasts, insects and fish, and of the way plants grow. If I go on trying, I will surely understand them still better by the time I am eighty-six, so that by ninety I will have penetrated to their essential nature. At one hundred, I may well have a positively divine understanding of them, while at one hundred and thirty, forty, or more I will have reached the stage where every dot and every stroke I paint will be alive. May Heaven, that grants long life, give me the chance to prove that this is no lie.

A new response

And that is just the point… how the world, moist and beautiful, calls to each of us to make a new and serious response.

That’s the big question, the one the world throws at you every morning. 

“Here you are, alive. Would you like to make a comment?”

Mary Oliver