The new year had arrived and the day after the ball dropped in Times Square we were packing the car and heading home as our holiday visit was coming to an end and it was time to say good-bye. I made a resolution not to cry as I hugged my son and we quickly got the dreaded moment over with to try to avoid feeling sad. It was only the second day of the new year and I broke my resolution as I felt the tears falling down my cheeks. We stopped at the Duncan Donuts not far from our son’s apartment and while Kevin ran out to get our coffee I found myself laughing despite the tears. Others were parking their cars and getting coffee on their way to work and I imagined how crazy it must seem if you peered into our car. We looked like travelling hoarders as I glanced around our car crammed with suitcases, Christmas gifts, the dog and of course, me crying.
2016 was a year that I could not have imagined. Kevin and I are still in shock and were discussing this on both the trip to New York and home. If someone had told us last year on New Year’s Eve we’d be relocating from Queens, New York to Suwanee, Georgia, we’d have thought they were nuts.
This is now the reason I no longer make resolutions. Life truly is a surprise!
As our drive continued despite the gray, rainy sky, dawn was breaking bright and I opened the new journal calendar book I received for Christmas. I always get excited when I see things like blank computer screens to type thoughts. So, holding this journal with its 365 new “blank” possibilities had my enthusiasm soaring. As I turned the pages I noticed it included a section with questions to guide us in thinking about our goals, hopes and dreams for the year.
Question one… How do you imagine your life will be 20 years from now? There were lines to be filled in for the answer with prompts like: dream, hope and goal.
Well, the answer to “dream” was a cinch as I was sitting in the cramped car. I dream of being rich and famous and one day travelling in a huge Winnebago while vacationing – versus sitting Indian style in a Mazda for two days.
My answer to “hope” was to be healthy so I will enjoy the journey.
And, my answer to “goal,” be enthusiastic and find something to joke about every day of that journey to age 77. More importantly, I envision an even longer journey – like maybe 40 years down the road – instead of 20.
In my opinion questions like these are dreams. Nothing in life is promised no matter how much we want them to be. Yes, dreams can come true with hard work and dedication and we have to stay positive, have goals and take steps to reach them. We must stay filled with hope – but we cannot crumble when the journey is met with dark clouds, which we all know will happen at some point.
As I am typing this I glance at my dog who was scratching her ear and got her paw stuck in her hair. She was limping on three legs and as I jumped off my chair to help her (from either breaking her leg, or worse, her neck) she nipped me. No, I cannot make this stuff up. Life truly is one joke after another, but the good news is she untangled herself with no visits to the vet necessary.
The lesson, no matter what the situation – things work out.
I don’t know about you but I am glad that I don’t know what spontaneous moments await me. When we lose our sense of wonder life becomes dull.
Many people feel sad when the holidays are over and the decorations must come down. Honestly, today I need to keep my resolution of finding a joke. My living room, once a beautiful view, now has a drooping Christmas tree with dry needles all over the floor, nestled between two dead poinsettia plants. And, there must have been a storm while we were away because the garland on my balcony is dangling over the ledge. I am trying not to feel overwhelmed but I see the stack of mail, a huge pile of gifts to be put away, and twelve days of laundry resting against the washing machine.
Each blank square in this new calendar journal has a good-bye at the stroke of midnight and I have absolutely no idea the memory that each one will have. Life truly is a series of hello’s and good-bye’s. But honestly, good-byes really are nothing more than doors closing to welcome new hello’s to enter. Laughter keeps us from being afraid and hopefully for me, today, overwhelmed.
Joking and laughter are powerful tools especially when dealing with sad good-byes. Despite what some may think I do shed tears like I did on the second day of my failed resolution. As the trip continued, I reached for my sense of humor as we drove through the raindrops. I will also keep my spirits merry and bright as I dismantle the pine mess and take down the blinking lights.
My mantra for the year: There are no good-byes that cannot be improved by laughter. Even in the darkest times I will always try to remember the good times.
This trip was filled with so many happy moments.
While I hope you do not experience many sad good-byes if you do find yourself faced with some I pray they will be brief and I hope you will take my advice. It really is not a bad idea at all to ditch the word resolution as your goal for the year and change it to joke.
Each day is a new beginning. Make a resolution to embrace the adventure to the next twenty, thirty or better yet forty years searching for a good joke. And when you do, please share it with me.