Out With The Old … In With The New

While baking my first, and probably only batch of cookies for 2016, I find myself in a very contemplative mood this afternoon. In preparation for making new memories in 2017, my mind naturally flows to lining up all the memories of this past year. Normally I find Sunday afternoons spent alone to be painful reminders of those in the past that were eagerly anticipated and enjoyed as “family days”. I now rather dread them due to the solitude and the fact that I often visit my mom in the nursing home on these afternoons — an excruciatingly painful experience each and every time due to the dementia that has kidnapped her mind.

Today, however, I am embracing my “me time” and filing it with things I don’t do enough of.  Back in the day, I used to cook A LOT….. all from “scratch”. We once went three years without buying a single store-bought loaf of bread because I made 2 or 3 loaves, by hand, every week.  That was prior to me caving to the bread machine craze.  These days I try not to even eat bread, and typically do very little cooking in general.  Today, though, I have a pork roast in the oven and I even tried a new cookie recipe for the cookie exchange happening later this week during my book club meeting.  I also took the time to sit down and play the piano and sing for a bit; something I rarely do these days.  I need to do it more often as it is such a satisfying and healing force for me.  Music speaks to me VERY deeply and, like a really good book, can “transport” me to another place and time.

In reviewing this past year, there have been some very painful, life-changing events as well as some very positive ones.  My dad becoming ill in early spring and passing away in early October pretty much overshadows everything else. However, when I look deeper and prod my memory a bit, I am able to recall many things to be thankful for this past year.

Number one on that list is a sister who was able and willing to take Dad into her home and care for him.  It was very difficult for me, as the nurse in the family, to relinquish that role, due to the fact that my full time job is my sole source of support, but I will forever be grateful to her for this supreme act of love.

Another feat I am thankful for is my achievement, in the first 6 months of the year, of losing 30 lbs…..with a lot of sweat and effort.  With my very sluggish 55 year old metabolism, this really was quite a feat for me!  Unfortunately, due to events in the last couple of months resulting in my loss of “focus”, a few of those pounds have found their way back home.  However, as I get my head screwed back on straight here in the coming weeks, I am confident that I will be able to get my “mojo” back and send them packing.

Aside from going down a couple sizes, the most positive thing that 2016 brought was a “love life” again, even if it only lasted a little over 3 months.  Those 3 blissful months were transformational for me.  They renewed my sagging confidence, made me feel young and vibrant again and assured me that yes, indeed, there are still some good men out there…which gives me at least a sliver of hope for the future.  I was taken more places, saw more sights, had more fun and felt more loved in those 3 months than in the 15 or more years prior.  Although a big part of me was very sad it came to an end, I try to remember the famous Dr. Seuss line, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened”.  I’m smiling big and thankful for having met one of the “good guys”.

As 2016 draws to a close, I am reminded once again of the many blessings I sometimes probably take for granted: a warm and cozy little home in one of the most beautiful areas of this country, plenty of food to eat, clothes to wear, a good job, great co-workers, a dependable car, a wonderful daughter and son-in-law, a caring sister and 2 crazy cats. My cup runneth over!

So, bring it on 2017!!!!!  When you arrive in a few weeks, I will have my “game on”!!!  If nothing else, 2016 with all it’s ups and downs, changed me into a little tougher cookie!!  Ooh Rah!!

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