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Roses And Thorns

Roses and Thorns of 2017

Everyone has played “roses and thorns” or “highs and lows” (as it’s known in our family) at some point – either at the dinner table, after a vacation, or in the midst of a life transition. The rules are easy. In a nutshell, it’s an opportunity to share what you liked the most and what you liked the least during a period of time.

The “least” was always easy in my house, because my kids liked playing “highs and lows” the LEAST every time! There were always deep sighs of exasperation followed by audible moans, physical acts of protest, and the incessant eye-rolling…but we keep on playing none-the-less.

The reason why we keep playing is simple…it’s about the power of sharing and reflection. It’s the gift of time to pause long enough to take a breath, to think about what happened, to show appreciation for the high points, and to learn valuable lessons from the low points.

Today everyone moves at the speed of light. Everyone navigates very complicated and busy lives. And, everyone is obsessively planning for the future and thinking about “what’s next”. My question is, how can you successfully plan for the future if you don’t look at the past?

The end of one calendar year and the beginning of another is the perfect to reflect, to take stock, to evaluate the missteps and mistakes, and to celebrate the wins of all shapes and sizes. This time of year is especially challenging with holiday hustle and bustle, endless social commitments, and stressful travels plans…which is why it’s even more important to find a few quiet moments, take a breath, and reflect.

If you’re new to the game of “high and lows”, here are 10 questions to help you get started. Hopefully, this will also encourage you to implement this simple, yet incredibly meaningful and impactful, game into your life…whether it’s a daily journal, a dinner table conversation, or an annual event.

  1. What was your greatest, highest, or most favorite moment from this past year?
  2. How did you celebrate that moment and how will you remember it?
  3. What was your worst, lowest, or least favorite moment from this past year?
  4. How did you survive that moment and what did you learn as a result of your resilience?
  5. What was something new you learned this year?
  6. What was your biggest challenge and how did you rise to the occasion?
  7. How did you step out of your comfort zone this year?
  8. Name a new person you met this year that had a big impact on your life or mindset.
  9. How did you make a positive difference in someone else’s life this year, and how did it make you feel?
  10. If you could change one thing from this past year, what would it be?
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