It has been years since I sat and wrote down a New Years’ Resolution. Resolutions don’t last when made going from one year to the next. Examples are things like “I will eat better”, “I will lose weight”, I will exercise every day”. These things last weeks or months at best for most people. We are human. We believe we should be better, do better, have more, and so on and so on.
I have been watching some things float by on social media today. A friend posted “as if 2021 was not already bad but today Betty White died just weeks before her 100th birthday”. I think we sometimes lump all the bad into one big batch and call it a bad year – when there were things in the world and in our lives that actually were good, went right. There are always good and bad things battling for top spot in our minds. While losing Betty was sad, it wasn’t bad. She has lived a wonderfully full and beautiful life, much beloved by hundreds of thousands of people. She went the same way she lived, peacefully and still in relatively good health thus not enduring any agonizing illness or end of life time. Ironically, she died the same year the Ed Asner and Cloris Leachman died – her co-stars on the Mary Tyler Moore show.
This year will look pretty much like last year and the year before that and the year before that. The world has seen much weird stuff happen due to climate change. Hotter summer temps in places, colder winters and snow in others. Drought begets fires which begets mudslides. Climate change is making our seasons different than before. Nature happens. The world changes. More hurricanes and tornadoes, more forest fires, more mudslides, more snow, more flooding…. These are the results not only of Mother Nature herself but also our choices as humans who are constantly changing, wanting more than what our ancestors had, what our parents had. We long to have the best of the best, especially when it comes to technology. Our world pays the price for such longings. People will die, if not from the coronavirus then from other illnesses or from plain old natural causes.
Yet, if I must be truthful, I see so much good going on in our world. When disaster hits, neighbors step up to help, a nation draws itself closer to give back to those less fortunate. When the coronavirus hit us hard, healthcare workers and essential workers and so many others stepped in to help the suffering as well as trying to ensure that we were cared for, that we had what we needed as we waited out the pandemic. Neighbors checked in on neighbors to be sure that everyone was safe. For the most part, everyone did what they could to prevent the spread of the virus. As we try to get back to normal, we are finding that “normal” has changed. It’s different than before the virus. I was a Special Education major in college and one of our mantra’s was, “Normal is what is normal for you.” There is no such thing as a stagnant normal – because we change internally all the time and what is normal for us to do today will most likely change as we grow older. And that is okay! A new normal? No problem. At least for those who are willing to change.
As we sit on the precipice of a new year – yet again – we take a moment to reflect on all that has happened during the past year. We decide what was bad and hope that things get better. We determine the things we may have done wrong and decide to DO better. We remember the things we loved and pray we get much more of that going forward. My hope is that we take that one step further and do this sort of exercise regularly, not waiting until the end of the year to take stock of an entire three-hundred sixty-five days but evaluate and make adjustments all throughout the year.
I look back on all that happened in my life in 2021 and feel so blessed that I was able to get out and do some minor travelling and that I have spent time with loved ones nearby as well as a few distant ones. I am blessed with good health, I love getting out and walking and swimming when I can. I am enjoying my new community and my new home so much. I feel as though God has granted me new beginnings by moving to a new place. I am learning more and more about myself and how I fit into this great big world. And God has granted me yet another opportunity to love again, something totally unexpected yet so beautiful. New opportunities are waiting just around the corner and I cannot wait to open the door to see what will happen next.
I do not know what will happen in 2022. I can speculate, sure, but I have learned that I have absolutely no control over how things will pan out. And that’s okay. I will take each day as it comes and make the best of it.
I pray for my family and friends that each day brings them a little bit of joy, that they take those lemons and make lemonade out of them. I pray we do not take each other so seriously that we forget that life is meant to be lived, that love and joy are what God wants for us. Go!..... Live!.... Love! Into the new year and beyond!!!