by Annette Bridges. ©2009. All rights reserved.

Are you ready to blaze a new road on your life journey?

I love the New Year! Each New Year feels like an opportunity for renewal, regeneration, restoration and renovation. And believe me, I always have plenty of resolutions to be implemented.

This year is no different! I have weight that I long to lose, career goals that I intend to pursue, relationships that I hope to improve, places I want to see, rooms in my house that I plan to reorganize and debts that simply must get paid off.

And since crossing one of those “age” hurdles in my life, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of doing and experiencing things I’ve never done before.

This makes me think of the introductory statement William Shatner used to make before each Star Trek episode. Remember it? He talked about exploring strange new worlds and seeking out new life forms and new civilizations — “to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

It’s words like “explore” and “new” that capture my imagination. I can certainly see that bold action is often required of a trailblazer, pioneer and groundbreaker.

After my husband and I walked a few trails in states like Colorado and Oregon, I couldn’t help but be grateful for the efforts and accomplishments made by explorers like Lewis and Clark. Over 200 years ago they set out on an amazing expedition where they faced unknown people, harsh conditions and territory they had never traveled before.

Walking through dense forests, even on a well-established trail, made me consider the courage and vision that must have been needed by the first trailblazers in order to imagine what was possible even when their view was blocked at first.

Who could imagine that on the other side of some steep mountains could be a vast ocean? Or who could imagine that in the midst of the forest would be a beautiful waterfall?

When we set out on a new trail in our life, we usually have no idea what we will find along our path —much less what we will discover at the end of our journey. Many times we probably have an idea about what we hope to find or experience along the way. But most likely, we can’t even begin to imagine the many surprises that we’ll undoubtedly encounter.

We can run into problems if we try to outline our expectations too much. When we don’t see what we think we’re going to see at the moment we thought we would, disappointment and discouragement can cause us to miss something unexpected and equally as wonderful as what we had hoped for.

So the lesson here, my friends, is to expect the unexpected and love the experience when you’re blessed with it.

Lee Ann Womack begins her song “I hope you dance” with “I hope you never lose your sense of wonder.” Hearts filled with wonder hunger to be surprised and eagerly anticipate the wonderment of all they will see and experience.

Remember the wonder of your first kiss, your first day of college or your first airplane ride?

One of my New Year’s resolutions this year is to find new wonder in the things I do each day. Wonder makes our lives more meaningful and enjoyable. I can see now how not having wonder leads to boredom and cynicism. It could be that part of my desire for something new and exciting is a wake-up call to rediscover my sense of wonder in what is already in my life.

So let’s rekindle our sense of wonder if we need to and make each day of our New Year more wonder-full. I suspect this will make blazing new trails as well as walking old ones much more fun!