So what? It’s only a New Year. 


I remember the New Years Eve when we sent 2013 out with a big kick in the butt from my home.   2013 marked a turning point in my life. That was the year I got diagnosed with breast cancer. Nothing after that year has been the same. 

I’m sure there are many other years before that that I would mark as turning points in my life. There are sad ones like when I lost my grandmother. She was a very important person in my life. There are happy ones like the year I got married and when we adopted our kids. But 2013 was a whopper for me. Not a good year. 

So we decided to kick it to the curb and we welcomed 2014 in with hopes that it would be an awesome year. I’d recover and life would be peachy. Well that didn’t happen. I had chronic pain issues from my breast cancer surgery that I could get no help for. We had big financial issues. Then last May my pain got worse, I was bed-ridden, i finally found a surgeon,  I had surgery, my dad died suddenly and my mother had a medical emergency weeks later. She’s now living with us. That’s a lot of tough stuff to happen in three years. So you can imagine why I might just be a bit cynical about Ringing in a new year with high expectations and hopes.  

Kevin and I aren’t very into celebrating New Year’s Eve mostly because we can’t stay awake until midnight. I personally never liked the holiday it’s always seems too forced to me. I recall a few years where I went out on New Years and the next day didn’t feel like the new year was beginning in a great way. Hangovers are a waste! I don’t do resolutions anymore – I’ve lost too much money to the cuss jar.  

This year Kevin wants to go out to dinner BC our son works as a busboy in a local restaurant and will be getting off at about ten and will need a ride home- so kevin thought it might be nice and convenient to have dinner out and then pick him up. We’d be home by 10:30. I’m not so sure about the plan. It makes me a bit anxious. Scenes of packed restaurants haunt me. But I don’t want to be a buzzkill so maybe I’ll go along with the plan. It’s only dinner. 

I’m not going to put so much pressure on a simple change of date to hope that I have a better days ahead. It’s fine to toss the old year away I suppose. It’s fine to wish in a better new year.  It’s good to be filled with hope of better things. But I have discovered that we just have to take what we get and learn how to deal with it -or not. 

I’ve learned some things over the years: 

Those crap years -they had a lot of good memories for me mixed in with the all the bad stuff. For me I will always be thankful for the time we spent with my dad in Florida last March. Though I could toss out my mother becoming so ill in 2016 -I’m very glad she’s now living with us. And what about all those talks and visits with my mother-in-law? Those are all part of this past year as much as the bad stuff is. If had to do this year over again – I wouldn’t avoid the pain I had if it meant all those other good things wouldn’t have happened. The pain sucked but the good stuff didn’t suck and I can’t give away those memories. Of course I’d love to not have lost my dad. That goes without saying. 

The other thing that’s a certainty is that bad stuff is going to happen in the future No matter how many Toasts we make to the new year. We all know it. But lots of good stuff is going to happen too. It is how we handle the bad stuff that is important and how we embrace and appreciate the good stuff -even the smallest nugget of good –is important too. 

Sometimes the good stuff seems overshadowed by the bad stuff. Because bad stuff sticks with us like slime. It tries to let us forget the beauty in our lives. I’ve said it before- some days you got to dig for the good stuff. 

I just read a great message from the president of my husbands company on optimism. He noted that optimism is infectious. That optimists out perform realists “any day of the week.”  My husband is an optimist. He has talked me out of some bad situations with his optimism. For that I’m truly blessed. I’m not sure where I’d be without him after these last few years. 

 I prefer to mix my optimism with realism. I’m a mixer. I’m liberal and conservative. Born on a cusp –I’m a mix of Sagittarius and Capricorn. Right now I have to dig deep for optimism. I’m a bit (ok very) worn and tentative after the last few years and especially after the last six months. I’m not at all sad to see 2016 get out of dodge. I’ve heard and read this from so many people. They are ready to see 2016 leave the building. I just don’t want to get all excited about 2017. It’s just another year. There will be ups and there will be downs. 

But  I’m going to pray for better times for next year and the future and I will pray that I have more good times in between the tough ones. I am slowly trying to get back into living life. I am still very off kilter but I’m trying to navigate my way. I don’t always understand why things happen. But I have a strong faith that God does know. 

And that is what keep me going.

I may not be much into New Years Eve as a holiday but I do want to wish a very Happy New Year to you all. I wish you much joy and love in 2017 and beyond. (Gee – How optimistic of me). 

Blessings. 

Just wake me when the ball starts dropping…..

celebration-horn-300x243I love the week between Christmas and New Years; the world just seems to slow down. I think I am going to spend the last few days of this year chilling out – maybe read some. Maybe sleep. One day we will visit family from out of town who came to see all of us after my father-in-law passed away last week at the age of 91. I am emotionally exhausted and I need to take a breather.

I want to wind the year down quietly. We were supposed to go skiing in Western Maryland this week and those plans have been put on hold. Not only because of my father-in-laws death – we still may have gone for a night or two- but also because there is only one slope open at the resort – and it is supposed to rain for the entire time we booked our place. If it happens to look more promising in the next couple days we can make the two-hour trek up to the resort and stay a night. I don’t ski anyway – I was hoping for snow tubing – which isn’t open. It is almost like the universe is saying, “just take a breather Anne”.

I have never been a big New Years Eve celebrator. That is not to say I haven’t tried to celebrate it but it always turned out flat- I never felt the elation when that clocked clicked into the New Year.

Maybe going from 1999-2000 was kind of exciting as my mom, my husband, and I sat up waiting for the some catastrophic event to happen because someone forgot to re-program the clock in some important computer somewhere. Nothing happened- which was reason to celebrate- I suppose.

I can recall yet another New Years Eve memory – one of me puking out the passenger side window of my boyfriends car… it was one of the rare times my parents allowed me to go out on New Years Eve in high school. That didn’t end well.

New years Eve is too forced a night for me – and there are too many nuts out drinking and getting behind the wheel. These days, Kevin and I don’t go out – the entire family falls asleep watching TV -after eating some yummy but not good for us food and I normally wake to the countdown of the new year and then wake whoever is piled on the couch and we sleepily cheer and hug and then we head to our respective beds and sleep away the first hours of the new year. It is lovely.

A couple years ago I awoke at 12:02 am and jumped up. I missed the turn of the new year! I always wake up. And as I woke from my haze of dismay I looked over to see my son, Luke, staring at the TV.

“Why didn’t you wake me?” I asked.

“Oh sorry.” He said “I didn’t want to wake you.”

“I told you to wake me before the ball dropped!”

“Oh – but your were really asleep…”

Gah! You can’t win with teens. I woke Kevin up and we went to bed – maybe just a little off kilter – amazing how our night of not celebrating still had a small iota of celebration in it such that if we missed that ball drop it was still a bit disappointing.

I hope someone wakes me this year if I am asleep. Wake me when the ball drops peeps!

As for resolutions, I stopped making them a long while ago. They never stick with me. I have resolved to quit cussing many times – well that didn’t work at all – my world loses a little color if I cant use salty language from time to time- ok it is more often than time to time but I like a lot of color in my world.

One year we had a cussing jar. We set it in our family room if Kevin(who rarely cusses) or I cussed we would have to put fifty cents in the jar. I think we collected a few dollars – not because I didn’t cuss- I just got plain irritated at the jar and the kids telling me I cussed- so they stopped telling me. Cuss jar forgotten – resolution forgotten.

Then there is the eating better resolution. I already eat pretty well and the things I eat that aren’t great for me I really enjoy eating. Like bagels.. I love them. I eat gluten free bagels most of the time and usually I only eat a half at breakfast. So on the days I want to eat one really super-good gluten filled bagel I am going to do it – and I am going to like it- ok maybe I have a bit of guilt but it’s short-lived. This same thing applies to cookies, ice cream and chocolate.

Do not deny me chocolate when I need it (I am feeling the urge now as I write…I think there is a piece of Ghirardelli in my freezer- Kevin is checking – God love that man. Yes – score – a hidden treat has been found.).

In the past I have resolved to pray more, read the Bible more, meditate more, better serve my fellowman, love more. More, more, better, better – those words just cause too much pressure and undo stress I think. So now I don’t make resolutions.

Eating better or praying more or being more loving aren’t bad things in themselves. They are all good things but there is something about these things when they come as a resolution in the new year that makes it seem required and for me that is too much pressure – what if I eat badly, what if I don’t pray for a few days, what if I am in a really crummy mood and not very loving for a day or two? Have I failed because I didn’t live up to my resolution?

Face it – most of folks who don’t make a resolution don’t live up to them. We are only human after all. I have realized that there are areas where I could strive to improve but if I don’t -I haven’t failed…I have just been human.

So this week I am going to be thankful for the year I am leaving behind. It was a tough year in many ways but it was also a year I learned much, and it was a year where I had much joy and many blessings.

I will look toward the next year with hope. Hope for a good year financially, and a good year for my teens -that they face their own challenges with strength and fortitude because being a teen these days is really hard.

I will pray for health and safety for my family. I will pray for my friends and for this world that seems riddled with anger and hate. I will hope that-though quieter- that love will win over loud nasty hate. I will always hope for peace…maybe it is lofty and a pie in the sky dream but I hope for it anyway.

In 2016, I hope I have more joy than hardship. I hope that when I am faced with the tough times I have the strength to get through them in one piece – and I pray that I will have my eyes wide open enough to see and cherish the many joys that will surely be part of my days. I hope that I will end the year a bit wiser then when it began. For that I will be grateful.

And I will always be grateful for chocolate.

Happy New Year!