The Christmas tree and the decorations have come down. The ornaments and garlands are safely tucked away for another year although I did hold back a few items that could pass as my winter seasonal decorations during the cross-over period.
And now as we transition to another year we give thought to what adventures lie ahead. Instead of resolutions of changing behavior, what about considering simple ideas like sharing more smiles, as they bring such great rewards. As well as laughter — such a pleasant activity and great way to connect. Finding joy in life’s simple pleasures, like a beautiful sunny winter’s day, a painting, a song, the pleasant sounds of family voices in the background.
There were many aspects of last year that I would like to cross over with me into this year that were really pleasant. My darling enjoying his retirement is a real pleasure to observe and participate in. He is more relaxed, less stressed, finds joy in many aspects of his daily life like taking the time to read the newspaper, enjoy a good cup of coffee, chatting with the neighbors, walking the dog, driving the Mustang with the top down. As well as the time to explore more interests and to have that great sense of satisfaction with a job well done. He is a great role model for retirement.
The time with my sons, whether it is at our home, or theirs. Conversations, walks, trips together, listening to dreams, and sharing in their challenges and successes. I must say it was great to see Ian regularly on TV in Covert Affairs, and other shows. I would hit pause, rewind, pause, rewind and record. Years ago he came home in Grade 9 after a great day in the Seaton drama program and announced he was going to be an actor. I thought this idea would pass similarly to the other careers he had suggested like architect, engineer, brain surgeon. He has never wavered from his commitment to acting and remains very dedicated, works hard and is enjoying his career and life in Toronto. New adventures lie ahead.
In my appreciation of the year, I acknowledge my family, friends, community, work that I love, colleagues who are inspiring and the recognition that I am fortunate.
Recently I overheard someone discussing their new year’s resolutions and it sounded so depressing. They were coming from a place of deficits instead of strengths, with a long list of changes they wanted to make. I understand this as I have often created those resolutions, thinking that happiness, prosperity or success would come my way and that not following through was a sign of failure. Self-reflection is really important to personal growth, however expectations or what we measure our standards up against can be unrealistic.
As I reflect on aging I have come to terms with some things: I am not going to wear a size 5 dress again or five-inch stilettos. If I am a size 5 again I will probably be 90 and flats would be better. I love food, really truly I do, the preparing, savouring, smells, oohs and ahhs of pleasure; I love it, as well as enjoying wine, and if that means not wearing a size 5 so be it. I also enjoy the feeling of my body when it is strong and fit. So I am going to enjoy becoming stronger through long hikes with my friends, family and faithful companion Indiana Jones, the black Lab. By enjoying this amazing winter wonderland on my snowshoes, through being active with a variety of exercises, sports and activities for each season to enjoy. A body in motion becomes stronger. Whatever benefits and pleasures come my way as a result of that will be fantastic. And I am going to continue to enjoy food and wine. Keep it simple by enjoying life’s pleasures, not being over-indulgent, just simple.
There are many who are not enjoying good health who have had difficult times, and from them I have learned to appreciate what I have. Our good health — physical, mental, emotional, spiritual are very important and can be fleeting.
If this is a time for you of reflection then look back on your year on your successes, and I believe if you give yourself permission to do so there are far more stars than holes to remember. Enjoy the revisit; are there lessons you have learned, new ideas, and hopes for the coming year? Great, take them with you in your transition to a new year. Enjoy, keep it simple, smile.
Michele Blais is a longtime columnist for The Morning Star, appearing every other Sunday. She has been working with families and children in the North Okanagan for the past 28 years.