Hello 2017! 

Happy New Year!  I want to first thank everyone who reads my blog on and off.  I’m really grateful that you do!

January 1st is considered a day of new starts and new beginnings.  People make resolutions to save money, get into shape and find a partner.  It’s great to look into the universe and ask for what you want but you must really believe in it, visualize it.  At times of doubt, reform your positive thoughts, see yourself 20 pounds lighter, see yourself with more money or see yourself holding hands with your love walking in the park.  You can make all the resolutions you want but unless you really believe that it is possible, that it will happen, you will only sabotage yourself.

But enough about resolutions.  I quit making them several years back.  Every day is a new beginning and a new start.  Last night after a dinner out with my husband, we were talking about things like vacation, bucket lists, what we want to accomplish in the new year.  I reflected back ten years ago when my life was quite different.  It only changed when I made up my mind that I could no longer live in this 2nd marriage.  Today my life is much different.  In 2006, I was unhappy and miserable just holding it together.  Day by day, week by week fighting against the negative energy of someone who didn’t have mine or my daughters’ best interests at heart.  Fast forward to today and there is little I need or even want.  If I died tomorrow, there is very little on my bucket list.  I would only regret leaving the people I love.

The whole ‘bucket list’ thing I somewhat understand.  It’s great to motivate you to go out and experience life.  While there is some traveling I want to do and I want to write that best-selling novel, my focus is very small.  I used to have grand ideas and dreams but my mom’s terminal cancer and death put life into a whole different context.  Things I believed were so important whether they were material or intangible, are really not important to me now.  The meaning of life to me is to spend time with the people you love and find ways to show love to others.  It means stop taking crap you don’t have to take (though sometimes you have to do it to make a living), stop doing things you don’t want to do especially social obligations and start doing the things you enjoy the most even if it is not something everyone else finds exciting.

Rather than a bucket list, I want to focus on a gratitude list.  Recently, I started volunteering at a local nursing home and have found it very rewarding so far but also very sobering.  Imagine what it would be like to one day wake up and your life is limited to a small room (possibly shared) and a hallway leading to the dining room/ rec room.  Physically you are no longer able to walk or care for yourself.  All your possessions are now in the room with you and can be placed in a few large boxes.  That isn’t how it ends for everyone, but it is a reminder of what is truly important.  Our health, love and the people we love.

I have so much to be grateful for but it is easy to get into this cycle of feeling sorry for yourself or focusing on what you may have lost.  Grief has a way of pulling you down under murky waters and you can’t see the light.  I’m sure this is normal and it’s hard to live without someone you were very close to that was also a big part of your life.  Eventually you surface and start swimming for shore but the thick water of grief keeps pulling at you, making your progress slow and painful.  Some days the swimming is easier and other days you just want to slip back under the surface and never come back up.  I have no sage advice though time does help but it’s not magic either.  You have to be careful though to not forget your life and the ones who are still here.  My grief became somewhat selfish and self-centered.  I felt bad for myself, my mother is gone, and I kept living in that cloud.

The problem with living that way is you short change the people who need and love you.  You don’t mean to do it, you are lost in your own grief but at some point you have to get back onto shore and walk.  Even though it’s hard, and you would rather just keep swimming in the thick dark lake of grief and sorrow.  You need to look at all that is good in your life right this minute.  For me that is my husband, my daughters, my extended family and friends.   That I live is a beautiful comfortable home, drive a nice vehicle and have all the food and comforts I could ever want.  I can walk, cook and take care of myself.  I can literally walk a few feet, get into my truck and go wherever I’d like.

At least for now.  I am the most blessed woman on the planet even though I’ve lost my mom and other people I love.  Even though I had two shitty marriages and made a bunch of mistakes in my life.  But no matter what, I think being grateful for what you have at that moment is very powerful.  This brings happiness and joy to your life.  I went from nothing, an abusive home, sexual/verbal/emotional abuse, poverty etc. to still lead a good life.  Life may kick you hard but it is up to you where you end up.  You have the choice to be grateful and look ahead at improving your situation or you can sit around feeling sorry for yourself.  Be a victim.  I chose gratitude.  I chose to live the life I want.

This year after living most of my life in dysfunctional chaos, I am going to chose to live in peace.  Even if events are out of my control, I am going to chose a different path.  I’m going to focus on what I have to be grateful for and I’m going to ask for what I want in life.  I want to publish a book.  I want to be fit.

What do you want?  What are you grateful for?  

The Year’s End… 

The last weekend of 2015 is upon us and as I reflect back over this past year, it has been one of changes.  It is a good time to reflect and compare the beginning of the year with the end.  Have I grown?  Have I improved?  Have I had fun?   I think yes to all three questions.

I am not one to make New Year’s resolutions but I do make a few goals.  Actually I limit them to five to not overwhelm myself.  And as my recent blog post, I took out the one goal that was a thinly disguised weight loss goal.  Well actually I trashed all of them and will need to rewrite them though they are similar each year.

One is to finish my degree program which I should graduate May 7.  One deals with my writing and publishing.  One is for inner peace and not letting things get to me so much.  One is a cycling goal where I strive for a particular number of miles to ride for the year.  Which leaves one goal open since I took out the one goal.  It’s like a bonus taking out the weight loss goal and giving myself the freedom to just be who I am.  So what might my new goal be?  Endless possibilities, right?

After the last almost 10 years of dealing with my mom’s three bouts with cancer, her death and the aftermath of deep grief, the light has returned.  The other day I saw one of those quizzes on FaceBook titled “What Friend Has Your Back?”  I usually do them and not post them too often, just more out of curiosity.  I figured it might be one of my daughters or one of my girlfriends who comment on my posts often and it would calculate it on the number of comments or likes I get from particular friends.  Except the answer stunned me.  My mom’s name came up and considering it’s been two years since she was probably even on FaceBook and she didn’t quite get the whole idea of it, I could only feel it was a divine intervention.

This I took as a sign and felt that it was as if my mom was trying to tell me that no matter what, even death, she was still here for me.  While I still miss her every day, I felt the veil of grief lift so I could feel the warmth of the sunlight on my face once again.  This Christmas was a happy occasion even though it was also her birthday.  We felt her with us, we kept some of our traditions but made new ones.  And for the first time in a very long time, I feel positive and uplifted and well, happy. Because I know that is what my mother would want.  Not me moping around, feeling sad and depressed.

A new year isn’t a magical antidote that fixes your life.  New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day is in reality, just another day.  Any day of the year can be a new start.  But it does give you a jumping off point to focus on a new goal or goals.   Though, you can set goals any day or take steps to a new project or improve yourself.  Though I think it’s important to love yourself just the way you are.  Losing weight isn’t the magic bullet.  Sure your life may change but it can’t fix a lot of things.  Or starting a new job might not be all it’s cracked up to be.  Examine your motivation.  If you think it will be the fairy dust that will make your dreams come true, you might want to step back and examine what it is you really want.

People jump from relationship to relationship or job to job or move from place to place searching for something elusive.  when the core issue is they just need to love and accept themselves, maybe speak up for themselves more or change their mindset or maybe just stop being a victim of your own choices.  Accepting responsiblity for your life isn’t easy.  Granted you can’t control everything such as a loved one’s death or your own health if a serious illness strikes, but you can choose what you do in the midst of your challenges.  Either you sit around and feel sorry for yourself or you find a way to thrive with whatever options you have available.

I’m excited about this next year.  There isn’t a magical rainbow promise but if I can meet my goals this year, that would make it great.  And if I don’t meet one or two of them, there is always next year or maybe I need to rethink the goal and adjust it.  My gift to myself this year is to accept myself right here and right now.  As well as being more accepting of others too.

Here’s to a wonderful next year of your life.  Many blessings for 2016!