New Year’s Revolutions
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!
Diane, read this excellent blog after our disastrous national week, so “revolutions” is particularly apt.
Good to learn that you’re still working on the book about the five men formerly incarcerated, and a completely different work of fiction about a woman and her challenges for diversity. We all have challenges!
Congratulations on turning 60, you have a wonderful life! I was shocked that I made it to 60 as a DV survivor. I really never thought I’d get to 60, so that’s one way to look at it.
When I turned 70 in 2019 there was some justifiable fear and dread about aging alone, but those emotions subsided, although sure enough things began to fall apart with my rusty frame! Had back surgery last September when our state COVID rates were low, and will be having left hip replacement whenever we’re all vaccinated and COVID rates subside and rehabs for elective surgery are re-opened in my state. (And yes, I will be running with the new hip.)
Looking back at 2020, what stood out for me was having conversations with people in all 50 states phone banking for Bernie and then for Biden and finally to Georgia for the past two months with folks of all ages, genders and ethnicity. It was a very “communing experience” reaching across all 50 states and having very authentic conversations about what matters (and some creative profanity that goes with the territory). I also joined NAACP and The Poor Peoples Campaign, which are long-term involvements.
Keep writing, Diane; I’ll keep revolting (against racial oppression, against conspiracy theories, against voter suppression, and against autocratic surgeons who attempt to dictate to their patients post-surgery “instructions” like “You can’t run.” Oh yeah? Watch me. Too many runners have proven that it can be done. We just don’t take no for an answer.)
Congratulations on the move to Florida in spite of the pandemic. Good writing weather and good outdoor exercise weather, not-so-good politicians. You can change that like Georgia.
Happy New Year!
Diana! You are such an inspiration–from DV survivor to relentless activist, who won’t “take no for an answer”! Thank you for you hard work–and all your best wishes. FL may be next!!
Thank you for sharing the gorgeous images of your new warm home 🙂 And thank you for reminding me that I still haven’t reflected on 2020. I think I’m dreading going back there, now that I’ve said good riddance to it 😉
One of my revolutions(!) is to go through a chakra meditation daily, and repeat healing affirmations.
I am so looking forward to reading both of your books because you are a brilliant writer. Your description of your novel made me laugh: “about a woman…who’s going through some things.”
Actually, I’ll start my reflection on 2020 here: I’m grateful for your friendship; for all the times you made me laugh.
Sarita! Love your revolutions–a daily chakra meditation and repeating healing affirmations (maybe try doing those if from of a mirror! Very powerful!)
And thank you, for your faith in me as a writer.
I am so grateful for our friendship and looking forward in 2021 to many more moments filled with laughter together! XO
As usual, my dear friend, I LOVE this!! It’s so beautiful and I can hear your voice as I read it. I teared up in places. I can’t believe you took the plunge and MOVED TO FLORIDA!!! Wow!! I also want to love more this year, and laugh more!
So proud, so blessed to know you!
Thank you, dear Janet! More love, and of course, laughter!!!! XOXO
Happy belated birthday, my friend!
I didn’t realize that you had moved, now I can be very upset & obsess about it for a few days! I’m not doing that much anyway, so I guess it’s okay!
Enjoy your life, you are a truly special person 💛
Thank you, Sue!! We moved pretty suddenly–we sold our house fast–and COVID got in the way of so many good-byes. Miss you, my dear friend!! XOXO
Happy Birthday, Diane! Your posts touch me so deeply. Thank you for sharing your beautiful, hard-earned wisdom and perspective. Congratulations on your move and your milestone! Revolutions – yesssss!!
Thank you, Sherry! What a bday gift your comment is! Yay for all the revolutions I know you’ve had in your own life, and yesssss to more revolutions to come!
Happy Birthday Diane! I enjoyed your post. I am 62 now and I feel that same sense of urgency, which is a good thing. This year I opted to do something different instead of the three feeling adjectives. I’ll say more about it in my next newsletters. Good luck with your revolutions! These are good ones.
Thanks, Isidra! I LOVED your 3 adjectives to live by! Can’t wait to read your newest revolution!!
Happy New Year, Diane. Wow! I didn’t know you’d relocated to Florida already! … And … Wow, I love your revolutions, my thoughts exactly! I too am a Capricorn, an old one, and your words express my thoughts and feelings precisely! I’ve been meditating daily on the very same ideas of love and forgiveness. I believe that to love others unconditionally we must first love and accept ourselves, and we cannot truly forgive others until we can forgive ourselves. One of my favorite quotes is from Richard Bach’s book ILLUSIONS: “You cannot be unhappy inside yourself without making others unhappy too,” I’m not sure unconditional love is possible on this planet, as we are always in a state of becoming, but it is what we are meant to strive for. None of us are finished. Life is about growth. We are Humans Being … becoming. Life is about learning. Richard asks, “How do you know when your life on earth is over? If you’re still here it isn’t.” I wish you and your family an exceptional New Year and I hope we can visit soon. P.S. I do have 1 resolution: It is my goal to publish my book this year. Good luck with yours. Margie
Yes, Margie! I’m here–not doing any visiting yet though, waiting on COVID to clear!
I loved your thoughts about becoming, and yay for your goal! I hope you get that baby published this year as well!!
Great post! Happy for you in your new warm digs! Enjoy your walks.
I want to write also. Let’s keep each other accountable somehow? Ideas?
Accountability partners make all the difference! If you have any specific writing goals, feel free to share them and then check in to keep yourself on track!
Love this Diane! I am joining the revolution!
YAY Louise! Welcome to the revolution!
Happy Birthday Diane! I can relate to your lamentations.
You are so blessed to be in your situation at 60…retired in Florida, having raised your children, the goal of writing 2 books! You are in an envious position! At 62, I still have 3 sons who haven’t “launched”–part of the problem of postponing motherhood until my late 30’s and early 40’s! Best wishes in your new home and with your writing! xoxo
Thanks, Denise! Those boys will launch soon enough–and you’ll join me in FL!
Happy Belated Birthday Diane, glad to hear how thankful and peaceful you are in your transition. Coming to terms with our rear view mirror is a daunting task filled with personal observations and responsibilities. Yet so rewarding when we are honest and comfortable with oneself. Congratulations on the books they’re sure to be fantastic, for your writing is real. Stay the course and be happy 😊
Thank you, Dorothy! Miss you!! XO
Denise you’re a wonderful person and a great mother. I remember you well, and remember how many times your light, love and wisdom shone brightly.
This is beautiful, Diane! I LOVE the idea of REVOLUTION instead of resolution. I felt I was “moving” simply by reading it. Thank you for sharing you have found love ten years ago. I feel inspired and optimistic that I will, too. I will keep the doors of New York open for you whenever you want to return!
Thank you, Jeanne!! Keep that optimism and love will come!! And I will take you up on your open door next time I’ in MY!