Quick Reflections on a Year Past, Resolutions for the One Ahead

Last night I sat, chilled Chardonnay in hand, on the comfy chair in Elizabeth’s lounge chatting about 2011.  Personally it wasn’t a bad year for me, but many people close to me lost someone important to them.  Every time there was a loss, even though it didn’t directly link with me, it made me more and more aware of my own mortality.

I remember a post Aunty Carol put on Facebook – “Children, be careful of growing up too fast, because you forget that while you are, your parents are growing old.”  This really touched me because I realize every time Dad comes home from a month at sea, that he has aged.  Mom told me one night that she is ready to die and I burst into tears.  She looked at me tenderly, “We’re all going to die sometime, my girl,” she said, “it’s the one thing no-one can escape.”  Tears streaming down my face I said, “I know Mom, but I don’t want to think about it.”  

I started a new job in April and I am so happy – I have been blessed with wonderful colleagues, an understanding boss and enough stimulation for my mind.  Even more importantly, this job allows me to spend time with my family, my friends, do my writing and enjoy a good book every now and then.

I stopped drinking my anti-depressants (cold turkey) in mid-October and towards the end of November, I hit a very bad downer, but with the help of mostly my friends, I got through it. 

Also, something I never thought I would ever do was exercise every day, let alone join the gym, but I did – and that too has made me a better person.  I have made new friends there and even though I go for only an hour every day, I come home feeling energized and positive.  

All in all, as I reflect on 2011, it was an okay year for me.  I’m looking forward to 2012.

I don’t have any major resolutions for this year, but a few things I want to achieve are:

1.  Submitting a complete manuscript to my tutor for proof-reading and editing and then rewrite it well enough to submit it for publishing consideration.

2.  Practicing a random act of kindness every day – after all, there is a saying that says “be kinder than necessary to everyone you meet, for everyone is facing some kind of battle.”

3.  Walk through the night at the annual CANSA Relay for Life.

4.  Go on another cruise holiday (for my leave in December).

5.  Blog daily – even if it is a short post, or simply a wordless photograph.

6.  Be the best friend I can be to my friends.

7.  Leave behind the past and focus on the future.  

8.  Reach my goal weight of 61 Kg by the end of June.

A friend of mine sent me this message this morning – and I believe that it is perfect to end this first entry of what I KNOW is going to be a great year…

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters to what lies within us.  We all have questions about what this New Year will hold for us, but we have courage:  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

Two, almost Three Days into 2011

A Belated Happy New Year to all!  I wish each one of you everything you wish yourself 🙂

My New Year’s celebration was a quiet, but most memorable one…

My friend, Jay, whom I haven’t seen in over three years was down this neck of the woods from Cape Town and came through for coffee a few days before New Year’s Eve.  I couldn’t believe how well is looking – life in Cape Town is obviously treating him extremely well.  I had heard from Cousin Lara that Jay and his girlfriend of just over five years had decided to call it quits.  I thought it sad, but after a chat about the break-up, I realized that he feels things are better this way.  Anyhow, he trotted off, leaving an open invitation to spend New Year’s Eve with him – a bottle of wine and snacks on the beach.  After some consideration, I decided to take him up on his offer.

The evening was magical.  He came to pick me up at home just after 19:00 and we went down to one of the beaches close to my house.  Blanket on the sand, an array of snacks (you have got to try Paprika flavoured Tuc crackers!) and a bottle of Robertson Cab Sav, we sat chatting and catching up on what has been happening in one another’s lives for the past three years.  The conversation went from jobs to relationships to family members to interests to travels – well all sorts actually.  We didn’t even realize that midnight had dawned (can midnight dawn?) until the fireworks started lighting up the moonless sky.  Jay gave me a friendly kiss and did something I really didn’t expect – he took my hand and he didn’t let go.  I didn’t know what to think, but I went with the flow and enjoyed the moment.  The temperature started to drop a bit, but not wanting to go home quite just yet, I pushed his arm aside and made myself comfy on his chest.  It felt comfortable – so comfortable.  After about a half hour of this snugness, we packed up and came home – where we woke mom up and off we trotted to the casino – the New Year did not generously give us any financial windfalls, but there are still 363 days left, so I’m not going to start moaning quite just yet.

We only went to sleep at 06:00 yesterday morning.  Yes readers, I pulled an all nighter!  For the third time in my life…

I had been asleep for only two hours when the phone rang – it was Dad calling from Nigeria to wish us all the best of the best.  Not being able to get back to sleep, I lay in bed watching TV until after midday and eventually got up.  Jay had stayed over on Mom’s invitation and by the time I go up, he was already up.  He gave me a crucher of a hug and we all got showered having decided to go out.  Jay and I dropped Mom off at Aunty Carol and Uncle Barry and he and I went to Anne and her family in town.  Again, Jay took my hand and sat stroking my hair.  Anne of course immediately sees me in a flowing white dress walking down a church aisle, to quote her “the man is totally smitten with you woman, I see the way he looks at you…”

After sosaties with them, we went down to the beach where we met up with Mom, Aunty Carol and Uncle Barry for ice cream.  After that we set off to quickly pick Elizabeth up for a night of 30 Seconds, wine and catching up.  On the way there I mentioned Anne’s observation to Jay who didn’t quite admit being “smitten” – in fact he was somewhat nonchalant about it.  Oh crap, my climbing hopes had just been dashed…

Not wanting an uncomfortable atmosphere, I told him straight out that I was actually quite disappointed that Anne had been wrong.  He didn’t take offense, in fact he put his arms around my shoulders and gave me a huge hug.

We arrived home just after 19:00, Elizabeth in tow and opened a bottle of Graham Beck Pinotage (wow!).  I put together a plate of snacks for us to nibble on and we got half way through a round of 30 Seconds when we all decided that it was sapping too much of the reserves of our sleep-deprived brains.  It didn’t stop us chatting until after midnight…and me getting my hair played with again.

All of us were up early this morning. Jay gave me a kiss good morning…  Mom, Elizabeth and I went out for lunch (Jay already had plans with other friends).  As we got in the car saying our goodbyes, my heart actually sank into my shoes.  I have been quiet all day, wondering…am I possibly falling for someone I’ve known for almost twenty years already? (To give you all an idea, I heard from Jessie James this morning too and for the first time in years my heart didn’t flutter – at all).  If I’m honest, I wouldn’t mind if I am falling, but I would need to know for sure if Jay indeed sees some kind of more-than-friends  connection happening…I would rather risk asking him and ending up with egg on my face, than hope in silence and end up broken hearted.

So,  as 2011 stands open before all of us, I leave you all with a handbook for the year ahead, make that a Handbook for LIFE :

Health:

1. Drink plenty of water.

2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.

3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.

4. Live with the 3 E’s — Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy

5. Make time to pray.

6. Play more games

7. Read more books than you did the year before .

8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day

9. Sleep for 7 hours.

10. Take a 10-30 minutes walk daily. And while you walk, smile.

Personality:

11. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

12. Don’t have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

13. Don’t over do. Keep your limits.

14. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

15. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip.

16. Dream more while you are awake.

17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

18. Forget issues of the past. Don’t remind your partner with His/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.

19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don’t hate others.

20. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.

21. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.

23. Smile and laugh more.

24. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree…

Society:

25. Call your family often.

26. Each day give something good to others.

27. Forgive everyone for everything.

28. Spend time w/ people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.

29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

30. What other people think of you is none of your business.

31. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

Life:

32. Do the right thing!

33. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

34. GOD heals everything.

35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change..

36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

37. The best is yet to come.

38. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.

39. Your Inner most self is meant to always be happy. So, be happy.

And Last:

40. Learn from Yesterday, live for Today and Pray for Tomorrow.

and truly lastly, a quick thought…a bit late I know, but a very special one:

“As we get ready to open the book on 2011 it is worth remembering that all the pages are blank and we are going to put every word on them ourselves.

The book is called OPPORTUNITY and its first page is NEW YEARS DAY.”