For me, the start of a new year always involves some level of self-examination.  My intention is to examine my conscience and determine where there is room for improvement.  I intend to take a look at my experiences through the past year,  my victories and my struggles.  Ideally, I would build on what worked and put some strategies in place to help avoid the inevitable rough spots in the future.  In years past, this exercise usually amounts to nothing more than a quick debate in my head about whether or not to bother making resolutions.  The typical ones come up… Eat healthier, exercise more, stop procrastinating and quit smoking.  I’ve made those year after year and something in me just refuses to take the list seriously. The procrastinator in me believes that I will take those things more seriously next year.  I won’t kid you into believing that this year will be any different. I should add stop being stubborn to the list.  But that would add more pressure and just one more thing to put off for another day…

There’s also the outward examination.  I look in the mirror.  This exercise is becoming more painful as time passes.  I see the beginnings of wrink (ok, who am I kidding?)  I see the wrinkles deepening around my eyes and mouth . The gray hair taking over and the results of Mr. Gravity wreaking havoc on the rest of me.  The freckles on the backs of my hands aren’t freckles anymore (how does that happen?)  It takes me a little longer to bound out of bed in the morning and I don’t run up and down the steps as I always have. “Things” aren’t so firm and toned.  My skin requires constant hydrating to prevent it from taking on alligator characteristics… I have to constantly remind myself to stand up straight. It’s wearing me out!

Yeah, it’s bleak.  And if you’re behind me in age, I apologize if I’m scaring you to death.  But it’s a fact of life and it is frightening and I’m smack-dab in the middle of a panic.  I see so many women my age who seem to be just fine with where they are in life.  Of course, they’ve dyed the gray away in their hair.  Maybe they go to the gym faithfully.  Maybe they’ve had or are contemplating tummy-tucks and some facial reconstruction.  Maybe they’ve already experienced my panic and chose to take steps to fix things. Maybe they just don’t care.

The experiences my mom has endured this past year has forced me to look at my own stuff in a way I never have.  When I look at her, I see me in the future and I get panicky. I don’t wanna be frail.  I don’t wanna depend on other people to do things for me.  I don’t want to become bitter.  I don’t want to become bitter.  More than anything I don’t want to become bitter.

This might be the year that I change things.  Time is going to pass no matter what.  Aging is inevitable.  We’re born, we live, we die. But I don’t want to become bitter.

Let me say that I hate this post. It’s not what I wanted to say but I’m trying to work through this.  It’s giving me a hard time and I can’t hold it in.

10 responses to “NEW YEAR THOUGHTS

  1. Linda, as much as I “know” you, I can’t see you ever being bitter. My year in review is much like yours, as are the “goals.” This year those goals are still on the list, but the one thing I hope to do this year, live life. I’m not going to let work define what I do outside of it. Happy New Year to you. May we both realize our goals.

  2. Thank you for your honesty. This was, as usual, expertly written and from the heart.
    Whether you change things in your life this year or next year or never, you will always be a great person in my eyes.

  3. Bailey, thanks for your thoughts : ) I don’t know, it’s really getting to me. When I look at my mom and where she was only say, 5 years ago, I never would have imagined her becoming so ornery and cranky. It hurts to see what she’s become. Maybe that’s the whole thing for me. I need to find a way to deal with that…
    If you find a way to separate your work life from your real life, let me in on it. That’s yet another struggle for me. Wow, I’m a mess! lol
    Love ya and good luck. We’re good for each other.
    Mizz, thanks. I’ll do better knowing I have you pulling for me : )

  4. Ironically today I was listening to a message about creating a bucket list. It was supposed to be a motivating speech and even referred the listener to websites to get suggestions about what to put on the list; but when finished I felt the same as I did when I started…absolutely no interest in seeing the movie or creating a bucket list. I have no desire to travel and my greatest desire is to be with family. Some might call that boring. But having worked my entire adult life, I know the biggest sacrifice has been time with family, and that is what I selfishly no longer want to give up.

    I have no interest in making a New Year’s resolution list either. It just gets put away and pulled out one year later…same list…same lack of accomplishments. But I will try to create a daily list of very specific activities and place it on my bathroom mirror… a specific exercise that day; preparing a healthy meal; at least 30 minutes watching a funny show on TV with my husband and laughing; and a specific plan to take 10 minutes and unclutter one small aspect of my life or home. I may not accomplish all of these each day, but I do find it amazing the amount of time I waste each day doing nothing but thinking about what I want to accomplish.

    I, too, am watching my mother grow more frail with each passing day and want to cry when I think of this downward spiral for her. But I also admire her stubbornness in not letting the many these trials she has gone through keep her from moving forward and my desire is to have her attitude as I age. The one thing I would not want for myself is her choice to stay in her own home. I want to remain independent as long as I can, but If I am alone as I get older or if I am no longer independent, I want to go to a place where there are other people around my age and professionals to watch over and care for me as needed. I love my home, but it is just a building. I want my home to be people that I can talk with and laugh and play games with and just share a movie with in the evening. And if I want to be alone I can go to my own room.

    My dream older age home has always been a place where all of my favorite people also live even before we become too old to enjoy one another. Can you imagine waking up each morning, walking out to the dining room, and seeing familiar friends? Oh, wait! Maybe that is my bucket list. My husband and I thought of this years ago and started to plan for this kind of place; but we put those plans aside to raise our family and never talked about it again. We wanted a place where our friends and us could live and be cared for and continue to enjoy one another as we age. Well, now. I have something to think about. Thanks for letting me share this reflection with you today. I would love it if we were together someday in my ‘old friends home’.

  5. Nedra (for those of you reading, Nedra was married to my first husband’s brother. We’ve lost touch over the years and recently reconnected on FB. I love her and am grateful to have her back in my life. ) Thank you sincerely for this comment. You triggered a cry for me (good thing, as I’ve had too much bottled up) and I needed it. I feel exactly as you do about family. My brother was here from SC the past few days. I only see them a couple times a year and miss them terribly. I would give anything to have JuJu and her family closer. Every day I want to be with them. Zod (the son) lives closer but daily life-his and ours- keep us from spending as much time together as I would like.
    I like your idea of daily lists to accomplish. I often do that, fall short and the list gets longer for the next day! ; ) But I’m going to give that more attention.
    My idea of a dream home is more of a village. I’m much too private to enjoy having people living in the same home. But to be able to walk next door to see loved ones whenever I’d like is very appealing.
    PD (my blog name for the hub) and I had planned to retire, sell everything and buy an RV to travel, but since the Meniere’s that’s not looking so probable. I still have a need to see the world.
    Great that your mom has a good attitude. Maybe my mom should hang out with her : )

  6. You know, I was feeling all bright and cheery till I read this post. Now I want to go hide somewhere away from mirrors and people.
    Aww, I had you going there for a minute admit it. Bright and cheery, me? HAHAHAHAHAHA

  7. Jeff, after re-reading this, I’m half tempted to take it down. I should never wait to write about something until it gets this bad. It really is a downer.
    I think I put a disclaimer up… Maybe people will learn to take those seriously, huh! At any rate, I would have felt awful if I’d made you feel bad.

  8. I have been thinking about the same things lately myself. My grandfather is 99 now and starting to have some serious problems and it has made everyone in our family think about what kind of plans we want to make so that our loved ones are forced to make them for us. I think about how I still feel like a 28 year old in my minds eye but then I look in the mirror and see the start of wrinkles, and wonder who that lady is looking back at me. Grey hair has been a reality in my life since 19…family thing, so I am no stranger to the home dye kits…but it is a bit shocking to see how much of it is grey when the roots start to show. I too, do not want to get bitter…and that is something I was just talking to my sister about the other day. I don’t want to feel like it is all downhill….older, frailer, harder. So I stay determined to keep my fitness as long as I can (although I need to work on my flexibility), and try to keep learning new things so that my mind is always at work. I do need to adjust my attitude a bit (2010 was a really hard year and 2011 is probably going to be just as hard) but I worry that I am starting to have a negative outlook and I don’t want that so I am purposefully aware of my comments and thoughts in hope that I can start a behavior change from within. Negativity shows on your face and in your body, and I don’t need to help Mr Gravity or Father Time.

    BTW, I think it is great that you posted something so personal and real….we all need to show our human factor once in a while…that is what makes such great reading…connecting with the author and the characters!! Thanks for your honesty!!

  9. Oops…that should be “so our loved ones aren’t forced to make them”

  10. Mishka, thanks for your own honesty. It’s reassuring to me to know I’m not alone in my fear. It’s great though that your genes seem to hold a strong possibility for longevity! A dear friend who read this post and mailed me his comment stressed to me that I need to focus more on living for today and not fretting about the future. I’m torn… Having that very attitude in the past has not helped me deal with this now. Had I worked through some issues a while back, I might not be having such a hard time. Ah… Life.

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