January 1, 2012
It’s the first day of a new year. The thought can mean nothing, just another day. It can be frightening, another year of possibilities and who knows what those might be. It can be exciting, another year of possibilities and who knows what those might be……
I guess it’s up to each one of us to decide how we feel about today.
It’s up to each one of us to decide how we feel about any day in our lives. Every day brings with it new possibilities, challenges and experiences. Processing each event as positive or negative is a very individual decision. We all get to decide if our challenges are exciting or draining. If they are an opportunity to pay our tuition and learn something, or if it’s yet another example of how the world is morphing into a scary and daunting place.
The world is an amazing place. It’s full of people to meet, places to see, and opportunities to learn. It doesn’t matter if you travel to far away places or if you go to the Co-Op for groceries, the people to meet, places to see and opportunities to learn are there for you as long as you are open to the possibilities.
Our lives are blessed with people who are living examples of inspiration. There are happy people who make you feel at peace. There are energetic people who leave you feeling inspired to try new things. Wise people who encourage you to dig a little deeper for solutions. Many, many people who we cross paths with on a regular basis will give us the peace, energy and wisdom to be our best selves every day in 2012. Wow, if we are our best selves every day in 2012, we won’t even have to think about it in 2013 because it will be habit by then.
OK, so maybe we won’t be our best selves EVERY day in 2012. There are going to be ups and downs, tired days and sick days. We can however go out in the world each day with the intention of giving it our best.
In a few days, our family will be celebrating the life of an amazing woman. She was happy, energetic and wise all wrapped up in one tiny little package. Our auntie was 104 when she died on December 28, 2011. She was a very capable 104 year old. She lived at home with her son. She knew every one of us when we visited, and she took an active interest in all of our lives.
Her life is an amazing story. She remembers when penicillin was discovered and people stopped dying from infection. She told stories of watching her Uncle and the rest of the soldiers march to the train on their way to World War I. She loved telling us about the time she was riding with friends as a teenager and had her leg severely broken as a result of being kicked by one of the other horses while she sat on her own. She would laugh and say that she never even fell off of her horse. One of the boys had to lift her down and she spent a lot of time in the hospital recovering. At the end of this story she would say “Just come here and feel my leg, the lump is still there”. It was still there.
She would walk on the treadmill every day. She needed no medications. She drank rum.
One time she held my hand and said “Look at how beautiful and young your hands are, mine look like an old lady’s hands”. She was 100. I was 38. Apparently she didn’t see that as an excuse to have old lady hands. I now see my knobby jointed farmer hands as young lady hands. I probably always will.
A few years ago, when we celebrated her 100th Birthday, it was done in grand style. A hall was rented and many people came to congratulate her on reaching this important milestone. I can remember a lot of great things about that day, but my sister-in-law Kari reminded me of what was probably the best message we received.
Our auntie got up to the podium, and after scolding her son for offering to get her some reading glasses, because of course…”I don’t need those glasses”… she thanked everyone for coming, told a few stories, laughed her great laugh, and pointed out a few of the people who were in the room. Her son asked her to share with us what secrets she had for reaching 100 years in such youthful style, and she said….
“Well, every day…I wake up….and I live.” I remember her laughing after she said this, and Kari and I don’t know if she was being flippant or profound. I think I will choose profound because that is what it was.
Here we are at the first day of a new year. What will your year be like? What will all of the rest of your years be like?
I want mine to be an opportunity to experience and tell new stories. The chance to learn from new challenges. This will be a year to go out, to experience, to inspire and to be inspired.
And every day, I will wake up, and I will live.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do that by the ones that you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain