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Last week we talked about the Etch-A-Sketch approach to life: the gift of clearing the slate and starting each day fresh and new.

But there’s another aspect to this quality of “newness”.  As Emerson says: “The power that resides in you is new in nature.”

In other words…You are something brand new in the world. No one else knows what you can be or do, and you won’t know until you try.

So here’s a good exercise for the start of the year: take some time to appreciate the unique person you are, your special gifts and qualities, the place you fill in your world. And take time to look for the special gifts or qualities of others…and tell them!

Now, I know it’s not always easy to affirm that “newness” or uniqueness. Seems like as soon as we stick our head up in this world, someone or something tries to knock it down. I think e. e. cummings is right:

To be nobody-but-yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else—means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.

So here’s some encouragement for this fight from our six-month-old granddaughter. Her name is Sophie and she had a big moment last week.

Until now, when we she was on her tummy on the carpet, all she could see was carpet. But last week, she pushed up with her little arms, straining her neck, and for the first time she looked up and around, eyes shining, grinning at us, so proud. So exuberant!

I thought, “Yes, Sophie. I understand. And I identify.”

I hope she’ll never stop pushing up, never stop reaching for that perspective that’s just a little higher; I hope she’ll never lose her sense of uniqueness or exuberance.

Somewhere I read: “Exuberance is the force of life that comes from faith.” Life goes so fast, doesn’t it? It seems we barely have time to stick our head up in this world before it’s over.

So here is my wish for you for this year: may you have moments—quiet, intense moments—when you push up just a little higher and look around at this incredible, fleeting thing called life…and taste the exuberance.

And this year, no matter what happens, may you remember that you are something brand new in the world.