So … just 4 days ago, a difficult year for the world, our country, our cities, towns, our families has finally been put to bed … and, in its place, another year born.
January 1, 2021 couldn’t have come a moment too soon!!!
This time of year, for me, has always been one of both reflection on the past twelve months (and all those that came before them) and of looking ahead. A balance between noting what I’m ready to let go of, what I’d like to build upon, and what I would like to welcome into my life.
(My son and daughter-in-law reflect upon the past year every January 1, recording on paper together what they both consider the top 10 highlights of their year. I did the same this weekend–what an inspiring exercise in gratitude!)
This season has felt particularly noteworthy—not just because of the year 2020 has been, but for personal reasons as well. First, Steven and I officially moved to Florida full-time as of October! While this was definitely a welcomed move—I am sooooooo over New York winters—with every major change, there is some sadness—and some fear!
I’ve Hit a Personal Milestone–I Just Turned 60!
I’ve lived in New York State for 57 years—with only a 3-year stint in Massachusetts for grad school. I consider myself a New Yorker through and through, and if you’ve ever heard my strong New York accent, you’d know that there’s no way I’m ever going to live those roots down!
The other reason this has been an important year for me is that, just at the year’s tail end, I hit a personal milestone: I just turned 60!
My dear friend Clare asked me before my bday (which was just seven days ago—yes, I am a Capricorn!) how I feel about turning 60.
On the one hand, I’ve loved the rich, blessed life I’ve lived for the past 60 years. I’m incredibly proud of my children, now all adults; I’ve made wonderful friends with whom I can laugh and cry and share both my best self and the self that’s … well … still in progress.
I’ve had more careers than you can imagine—and grown tremendously from each one; more pets than I can count—and loved each and every one of those balls of fluff. I’ve experienced more joy than I can wrap my head around and encountered my fair share of sorrow to learn from.
AND, of course, I found love ten years ago—my dear Steven, who adds so much laughter and light to my days.
In other words, I AM GRATEFUL!
The Clock–It’s Ticking!
Still … I am struggling a bit. Hearing that tick of the tock, that click of the clock.
Aware of how much more time there is that lies behind me than in front.
I’m not feeling too much fear—although I’d be lying if I said there was none.
And while there are few true regrets, there are several things I wish I could do over—better this time around. I’d replace shortness with patience, and, yes, even cruelty with love.
How I wish I hadn’t been mean to Lucy Martin in 5th grade. Still.
How I wish I hadn’t spoken some of the words that flew out of my mouth—especially to my kids.
And how I wish I had not made myself small when I witnessed injustice—towards myself or to those around me.
And yet, each minute has been an opportunity for growth, many of which I’ve dug into deeply and from which I’ve learned.
There is more time behind than in front. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Not at all.
Our “One Wild and Precious Life”
I now have more experience to build on, greater wisdom, and, with that, a greater sense of urgency. I don’t have the luxury to waste time—a luxury I’m glad to be without. My minutes take on more meaning, my choices more critical.
Now, more than ever, do the words of the late, great Mary Oliver feel like both a present I welcome and a responsibility I faithfully carry:
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
“Wild” and “precious.” Can you think of any two words that better describe the possibilities of life?
How About We Opt for Something More Exciting, More Inspiring–New Year’s Revolutions
So …. Enough looking behind and time to peek at the future. This year, I will not make my traditional New Year’s resolutions. “Resolutions” feel dreary, like a promise we’ve keep putting off until January 1 when, for some random reason, we’ve all decided that it’s time to make good on. Resolutions feel like burdens. I don’t know about you, but this year I’m ready to put my burdens down!
How about we call our New Year’s goals something more in line with nature? How about we use the energy of new birth, beginnings, and growth? How about we dump our resolutions and opt for something more exciting, more inspiring–New Year’s Revolutions. Our planet just completed a full revolution around the sun, after all!
New Year’s Revolutions! No dramatic turns or radical overthrows, but important steps in the cycle and circle of life.
And, my dear WomanPause friends, I am looking to you for accountability, to keep me honest! So … here’s my revolutionary list, and I will be sending updates!
- Write! Write! Write! I am currently working on two books! Yes, two! (I said, I was feeling the urgency!) One of the books I’ve mentioned in the blog before (and I’ve published a short piece about it). It’s a nonfiction narrative about five formerly incarcerated men—hopefully one that will open people’s minds … and hearts.
The second is a novel about a woman, let’s just say, who’s going through some things. Hopefully, it’ll be a story that will make people laugh and cringe a bit too—at some of that dear woman’s choices—and finally rejoice with her in her growth.
- Move! Move! Move! Oh … this one body I inhabit! I’ve had a love/hate relationship with her for the past 60 years, and it’s time to keep my focus more steadily on the love! I am now living in a warm climate in a place with plenty of wonderful places to walk outside, soak in the sun, and say good morning to beautiful water birds, lovely lizards, to trees and grass and butterflies! (All the pictures gracing this week’s post were taken on walks in our development.)
- Love! Love! Love! Look at all around me. See the good. Cherish it. And work to change the bad. Pay attention! Observe! Appreciate!
Catch myself when I’m judging others—and stop. Be less judgmental with myself. Be kind. Adventurous. Step outside my little box without stepping on other’s toes.
Listen. To the words others speak. To the words they leave unspoken. Listen to their hearts and to my own.
These are the ways I’m committing to make the most of this grand new year and of my “one wild and precious life.”
What are yours?
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Please leave a comment or send me an email.
If you’d like to share this–or any–post with others, please do! Feel free to share on social media or pass on to a friend.
And thank you, dear WomanPause readers, for joining me on this wonderful journey as we move ahead.
If there’s any topic you’d like me to research or explore this year, please let me know that too.
Wishing you and all you love the happiest, healthiest, and most fruitful of new years! Plant your seeds and grow!!
See you two weeks!