Saturday, January 2, 2016

New Year Reflections

One of my favorite things to do on New Year's Day is to carve out a large block of time for reflection.
Perhaps it is the teacher in me, or the student, that requires this time of reflection.
What are the take aways from 2015?
Take aways - 
What did I learn that I didn't know before?
What lessons did I relearn?
Did my perceptions on life, faith, and relationships change?
If so, why, how, when?
What were the outcomes I hoped for last year at this time?
What new lessons do I want to incorporate into my life?
What old lessons do I wish to hold dear to my heart?
What are my new goals, objectives, or desires for the coming year?
How will I reach those objectives and goals?
What must I do to fulfill the desires that I have for the future?

I guess it all sounds like teacher talk;
however, before I was a teacher,
while I was a teacher,
and after I was a teacher,
I was, and still am, 
a student.

I've learned that every year has many lessons to teach the willing student.

I keep a journal.
This year, as a way to close out 2015, I turned to my journal to see what I had 
learned during the year.

With a cup of tea at my side,
I sat down in my favorite chair to read what I had written in 2015.

2015 was a very eventful year.
I turned seventy.

There were many lessons of the heart this year.

My husband, the love of my life, gave me a birthday celebration to remember when we went to Disneyland in Florida where we acted like kids again.
I learned that we are still kids at heart and that nothing thrills my heart more than
listening to my husband laugh.

I celebrated my birthday well in September when my high school girl friends and I spent three days together in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
I learned anew what a rich blessing it is to have girlfriends who knew you when your were young,
and still laugh like they were not a day over sixteen.

My children and grandchildren are always on my heart.
I've learned powerful lessons about how little control I have over the outcomes of their lives.
I can't write their stories.
They alone are the authors of their stories.
In the meantime, they are prayed for by the mother and grandmother on a daily basis.
I place them in more reliable hands than mine when I pray.

The highlight of 2015 was when I received a pacemaker for my heart.
This was a long overdue gift to me.
The pacemaker has changed my life in so many ways.
I now have energy I hadn't had in years.
I can exercise again without nearly fainting.
Anxiety is no longer my constant companion.
I am so grateful for the miracle of modern science.
Now, my heart mostly behaves itself.

As I move forward into 2016, 
I think I have learned one 
of the most valuable lessons about life 
from my mother.

On New Year's Eve,
I called Mother to wish her a happy new year.
I said to her,
"When you wake up in the morning, you will awake to 2016.
You will have spanned the years from 1916 to 2016."

I think the thought of it was a bit overwhelming to her.
She seemed tired.
I told her that it was ok to be tired at her age.

She told me how she had recently read something she had written when she was in her seventies.
She said she had written,
"I probably have about ten more years to live."
She was wrong.
She didn't plan on reaching nearly 100 years of age,
but she has.

I went to bed worrying about my mother.

The next morning, 
January 1, 2016,
I called her again.
She answered the phone with a strong, happy, celebratory voice,
"Happy New Year!" 
she said before I could give her the same greeting.
She sounded like she always have throughout my span of days.
She is amazing.

I've learned a lot from watching my mother as she has lived so well in her

I've learned she never seems to look back.
Sometimes, she will tell me stories if I ask, but she isn't one to dwell on the "old days."
She is a very forward thinking person.
She stays in tune with the present.
I think that is one of the secrets to aging well.
Don't dwell on the past.
Live the present the best you can.
Look to the future.

Perhaps, she best looks to the future by living each day as it comes to her.

We really only have the present.
We can't do anything about the past.
We don't know what the future brings.
We have today.
These are trite sayings that sound like cliches,
but these words speak truth.

My goal for 2016 is;
 to love better,
 to laugh more,
and to live
each day as fully as I am able to live it.

These are the take away lessons that I have learned as I have reflected on 2015.

I hope you all have a Happy New Year.


The Furry Gnome said...

Good thoughts. I've always believed you have to look forward, not backwards, but this year ther's one great big pre-occupation that keeps me looking back! Need to take that reflection time myself and focus on looking forward.

Elizabeth said...

Happy New Year! I like your mother's lesson. She sounds a wonderful woman.

Terri Tiffany said...

First, I love your mother's thinking! I want to be like here. I also journal and love to reflect each year on how God answered prayer during the year and how I have changed. Looking forward to watching your next year evolve!

Rose said...

Excellent lessons to remember, Sally. I think I spent much of my life looking to the future--"Someday I'll have time to do this...someday I want to..." I have realized in the past few years that "someday" is now! It's good to share memories of the past and make plans for the future, but we need to focus on the present and make the most of today. That is my goal for the new year, too. I've certainly learned this past year that we never know what tomorrow may bring. I'm trying to catch up on blogging and enjoyed your last post, too. You're wise to remind us that expectations of Christmas can often lead to disappointment--after all, life changes. Wishing you all the best in the New Year!

troutbirder said...

Wonderful perspective on life. I hope to take it with me into the next year.... Thanks so much Sally....:)

Linda Reeder said...

I am a forward looking person. I know this because I have been unable to do much reflecting on the year just passed. I am much more involved with thinking about today and tomorrow and the weeks to come.
There was some real unpleasantness in my extended family this year, but I had almost completely forgotten about it until just now when I tried to "reflect". Maybe that's my lesson, my "take away" from 2015 - let it go and move on. It doesn't seem as bad once you move beyond it.

Olga Hebert said...

Thank you for a thoughtful (as always) reflection. I was really taken with picture of your favorite chair--such a sacrosanct corner. It really honors your inner way of being.

LC said...

Your post was a 2016 gift for me, an intimate encouraging and inspiring visit with you and your loved ones, Thank you. May 2016 be filled with blessings.

rosaria williams said...

" We really only have the present."
You are one of the wisest people I know. Happy New Year, Sally.

Jackie said...

Your posts are always full of wisdom....and exactly what I need to read.
My heart tugged as I read about your Mom...and about how many wonderful years she has been blessed with.
Sending you love and warmest wishes for a lovely and health-filled 2016.

DJan said...

What a fine post. You are so very fortunate to STILL have your mother in your life. It's been so long since I've seen my mother other than in my dreams. I hope you have a wonderful year ahead. :-)

Barb said...

The present is our greatest gift, Sally. Your goals for loving, laughing, and living are the ones I set for myself, too. I like when you write about your mother. May you and she still make memories together in 2016.

dkzody said...

I have learned that the present is the important moment in which to live. Although I have learned this, I have trouble staying with the lesson. I am always leapfrogging and planning the next day, week, month, year. Guess it's all those years of teaching when I was constantly planning lessons, even as I executed the ones already planned.

Lin Floyd said...

on to the future and a new year...

Arkansas Patti said...

A very smart and thoughtful post. How wonderful that your Mom is almost 100 with such a great attitude. Wow!! I can relate to her 70's wish and hope I am as wrong as she has been. You should feel so comforted to have her genes.
Keep enjoying each day Sally. Right now is what counts.

Deb Shucka said...

Lovely reflections, Sally. It's amazing that you still have your mom, and at a time in your life when her wisdom means more than it ever did before. Wishing you a new year filled with wonder and love.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Beautiful réflections and resolutuins, Sally. My eye problems last year taught me not to take anything for granted and to be both diligent and patient.
You are fortunate to still have your Mother in your life! Happy 100th year to her!

Margaret Adamson said...

Happy New Year. Great post. Your mother had great wisdom. I am nearly home now from my trip to Malawi and Zambia, just waiting at Heathrow for my flight this afternoon but thanks for leaving me all the comments when I was away.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Living fully in the present is the best goal you could have for 2016! And I hope your Mom reaches 100 with great joy. We can learn so much from the life experiences and lessons of our dwindling number of elders! I have a friend of 45 years who is 94 and an amazing woman. She has always lived with such courage and wit and compassion as a health professional. I had known her for probably 30 years before I discovered that she was a Holocaust survivor. And that was when she mentioned off-handedly that she had recorded a video for Stephen Spielberg's "Shoah" project. She recently told me that she is getting reparations in the form of a pension from Austria (her home country) as a Holocaust victim and that is coming in so handy as she is the caregiver for her seriously ill daughter and the daughter's disabled husband. She is so casual and uncomplaining about her life's incredible hardships and lives simply, with hope, with love and a great sense of humor. She's a true inspiration. Like your Mom, she is very much in the present and unsentimental about the past.

Jeanie said...

This is a beautiful post, Sally -- definitely that time of reflection brought you an abundance of recollections. Despite the wise advice of living in the present and "this day," Looking back, I think, is good when done in a thoughtful, reflective way as you have. To look back with gratitude, joy, evaluation, is so wise.

I'm often reminded these days of WWII and today's extremist unrest and the refugee crisis and remembering that it is easy to forget what is hard. But sometimes remembering can carry us forward to a better time. That's true in life as well.

Lovely. Here's to a 2016 worth remembering!

Kay said...

Oh my! This is such a wonderful, perfect post, Sally. I really loved it. You wrote so much of what I've felt. You sure did have a terrific 2015. 100! Wow! My mother keeps saying she doesn't think she'll live much longer and we've told her that there's no reason why not since her blood count is better than mine and she keeps so busy. She's only 87 years young, for goodness sakes! She attributes some of it to the treadmill we got her a while ago. She uses it twice a day and continues to move throughout the day.

Perpetua said...

I love your New Year reflection, Sally, and will take some of your wisdom with me into 2016. Congratulations to your mother on reaching her hundredth year. :)