I’ve been absent from the blogging world for six weeks, partly because of the demands of school, the holidays and family, and partly because every time I sit down to write, it’s like trying to clear an ice jam with a canoe. Sometimes I have so much to say, but I don’t have the words. Rather than stress, however, I keep in mind this Buddhist saying: “Between the stimulus and our response is the space in which lies our power and freedom.”
I just happen to be living within that space between Christmas and New Year’s, which is, as it is for so many, a week of reflection and resolution. Resolution as in I don’t commit myself to anything profound or unattainable. The only exception was the resolution I made the last week in 2004 to lose weight for the last time. Profound, yes, but it was attainable. Usually I resolve to tweak certain strengths or reach a little beyond my comfort zone. I don’t plan specifics, but I stay mindful to the opportunities to do either or both when they present themselves.
As this prime number year of 2011 comes to a close, I am thinking about the more than a few things that tweaked my strengths and challenged my comfort zone these past 12 months. Here, in my little canoe chipping away at an ice jam, are a few of the biggies:
1. The aftermath of my brother’s seizure in June. Stepping into someone’s life and making medical, financial and other personal decisions for them because they trust you to do the right thing is daunting, to say the least. Marty is doing better, but his short-term memory is still only about 10 percent. We’ll see what 2012 holds for his recovery, but in the meantime, he’s in good spirits, is independent for the most part, and has never lost his positive outlook. Like he told me, “I can either complain and be angry and make everyone around me miserable, or I can say, ‘This is the way things are right now. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not enamored with my situation. I don’t wake up and say, ‘Yahoo!’, but I am thankful for the fact that things aren’t worse.”
One of the side lessons I learned in all this is the importance of a medical directive and appointing a power of attorney to handle your personal matters just in case. Without that piece of paper naming my other brother and I POA, I shudder to think who would have been “named” to represent Marty’s best interests. I resolve in 2012 to get my paperwork in order.
2. The ways I’m learning to MacGyver my way around arthritis. Like John Lennon said, just because you can’t do something the way you’ve always done it doesn’t mean it still can’t be done. Or something like that.
3. Grandbaby Maelie Julianne, born in February.
4. Going back to college for a second degree, only this time I have to think with my left brain. This was one of those dreams that found me, but because it tapped into several of my fears (science, math, rejection, heights…campus is on a hill), I didn’t pursue it very hard. But it refused to go away and things fell into place without much help from me, so I figured it was the universe saying, “You asked the question and I’m just giving you the right answer. It might not be what you wanted, Ms. Scardy Cat, and you can live with it or not. It’s your choice.”
5 . The Butler-Freeport trail. You can learn a lot about yourself pedaling your bike alone.
6. East End Community Ministries and my volunteer work in its food pantry, the soup kitchen and Meals on Wheels. Best. Job. Ever.
7. Starting down the path of the M word (*eyeroll*). Oh estrogen, how I miss thee!
8. Stopping a gain and maintaining between 140-145 pounds.
9. Accepting my weight.
10. Accepting my weight.
11. Accepting my weight. OK, so that’s on my list of resolutions for 2012.
My little canoe of words will be here in January, chipping away at the ice. I’ve missed you all and our interaction here. I’m glad we chat on Facebook, though. Join us, if you haven’t already.
I’m excited about 2012, and my hope is that it holds promise and hope for you, too. Be a prime number. Take care of yourself. Eat smart, move often and make sure someone has your back if you should fall ill. Or as Garrison Keillor says, “Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.”
Happy new year!