Out with the Old; In with the New

There is nothing like the start of a new year to make me feel like I am getting older. Even more than birthdays, actually, the New Year’s holiday makes me feel as though time is passing all too quickly. But as I reflect on the past year I realize that getting older means we continue to learn and that is a very good thing.

IMG_7702This year I have been reminded that love and loss go hand in hand. I lost my dear Aunt Patti this year: a woman of great strength who had an endless capacity to love, and slightly mischievous sense of humor, and a family for whom she cared more than life itself. We also lost our faithful family dog this year, which left a gaping hole in our hearts and home that remains unfilled.

Once more, I have seen that things don’t always go as planned. I have had some reminders that perseverance is the key; that sometimes we don’t control which doors open and close for us. We have to play the hand we are dealt. Even when we think we have stacked the deck in our favor, sometimes someone else is shuffling the cards.

There have been some sharp and lovely reminders this year that my daughters are not only talented and beautiful, but both smart as whips. One completed her Master’s Degree in a foreign city, while the other is studying for her law school entrance exams while also balancing a very challenging academic load and several part-time jobs. I am so proud of the two of them that sometimes my heart overflows.

Once again, I have been reminded of the fragility of life itself. Especially as we get older, we need to care for our bodies to protect the shell that houses our brains, our hearts, and our souls, and to allow us to keep experiencing life to its fullest extent. We are all lucky to be here and we should find more ways to enjoy the ride.

I have learned this year that sometimes our strengths are also our weaknesses; that well-meaning words should not always be spoken; that people come and go in our lives; that sometimes I am wise and sometimes I am foolish; that once in a while old things can feel new again. Of course none of this is brand new, but it has all been brought to the forefront in some way over the past twelve months.

This turn of the calendar page presents an opportunity. I used to make New Year’s resolutions, but was very bad at keeping them and so I gave them up. But as I reflect on my lessons learned over the past year, I can’t help but make some plans for 2015: read more, write more, take more pictures, create more, and devote more time to my precious family and friends. I do so love a fresh start.

Happy New Year!

Making a List

I could be Santa Claus. Really, I could.

I love to give presents. Getting presents is nice, but it is the giving that really moves me.

All year long I try to look for cues to figure out what my family might really want or need. Sometimes they might mention something in August, and I file that note away in my head until I come upon something that will fill their need or want. Once in a while I hit the nail right on the head. Sometimes I fall short, but I’m usually fairly close.

So I really could be Santa. Just the idea that someone could intuitively understand what someone else wants and then make that dream a reality is a fascinating concept.

Then there’s the delivery: providing presents for everyone all at the same time is a magical notion. I know that Christmas is not based on presents under the tree, but the whole idea of it is very appealing. There is nothing I like better than Christmas morning, cup of coffee in hand, and watching my kids open presents that have been lovingly selected just for them.

So perhaps I am in the wrong line of work. If you know of any other job description like this, please let me know. In the meantime, I think I’ll send up a note to the North Pole…

packagesDear Santa:

I have been very good this year. Well, pretty good. What I really want for Christmas is your job. I have a passion for giving gifts and a pretty good track record for finding just the right thing for people. When you are ready to retire, please let me know. I’ll send my resume along faster than you can say, “On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer and Vixen!” I can supply references, as well.

Yes, one thing about Christmas that’s special to me is gift-giving. I love to wrap presents, too.  Presentation is important, so each gift should be wrapped carefully and beautifully.  So I could be Santa Claus.

Plus, that single deadline of one night a year is incredibly tempting.

With wishes that you find peace and joy under your tree, I wish you all a Merry Christmas!