31 December 2012

New Year's Eve

I intended to post something over the Christmas season, but once again life got in the way and here it is, New Year’s Eve.

Christmas was happy at our house. With three adult children, I am learning to lower my expectations. Christmas isn’t what it used to be. No more Santa, no more making our secret gifts for each other (the kids voted that down a couple of years ago), no more going to Christmas Eve service with the whole family (this year only one of the kids went along – one had to work and one didn’t want to go.)

The gifts are a bit more complicated, too. All my kids work hard, but like much of America, they’re all broke. Gifts are appreciated. Money is appreciated even more. But like most of America, we are broke as well, so while we gave both gifts and money, neither was as much as we’d have liked it to be. I have to say, though, the gifts my kids give now are phenomenal. No more pasta necklaces or cardboard scenes (not that those weren’t adorable – but let’s be real, what do you do with them??). Now they give gift cards and yummy smelling candles and colorful scarves and sweaters and favorite videos. They give adult gifts.

We also do adult things. We go out to lunch, go shopping, go skiing. We have adult conversations about education, goals, and even religion and politics – but only in small doses, as I raised my kids to be independent thinkers, and we don’t always agree on even the most passionate of subjects. And that’s ok.

All my kids were home this year. One lives here, one goes to school in New York and one lives and works in Arizona. There will come a day when they won’t all come home for Christmas. In fact, as we sat having Christmas dinner this year, I thanked them all for being there and I noted that we never know if we’ll all be together the next year. Life happens. One or more of them could have new families by then. Or they might choose to go somewhere with friends. Plus, life is fleeting and unexpected. I have a local friend who passed away on Christmas Day at the age of 43, leaving behind two middle-school aged kids and a husband. We never know when it will be our time to go.

This morning I wrote in my journal about the New Year’s Resolutions I’d like to make. I made two lists – one of things I know I need to change about my life, and a second of things I’d like to change, but that I might not need to change. Perhaps only a change of attitude is needed, rather than a new plan of action. Perhaps instead of looking for a new job, I need to do a better job at the one I already have. Perhaps instead of giving up on the book I’m working on, I need to put more time and thought into why I’m not happy with the direction it’s going.

I’m thankful that we can start over on any day of the year. I’m going to start fresh tomorrow and maybe I’ll do great things. Or maybe I’ll just keep doing O.K. things, but with a better attitude. Or maybe I’ll start next week. Or next month. Or when the snow melts.

Copyright © 2012 - Paulla Estes

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh I can relate to so much of what you posted about. I've found if I spend too much time thinking about the things I can't change, life just slips by. The maturing of my kids hit me like a ton of bricks. My kids are several years apart so I've been doing this job for many many years. It sort of felt like being forced into retirement from a job I really loved and wasn't at all ready to leave. I am now choosing to think of this time as a pause between having my own little ones and grandchildren.

I believe that there are always going to be good days and bad days and my fingers are crossed for more good ones. This time of year I think it's normal for folks to sort of take inventory of their lives. I just wish more folks could focus on what is right with their life and work on making that list longer. I'm including myself in this. In fact, it was my only resolution this year.

Happy and Healthy New Year to you and your family!

Paulla said...

I think that's a fabulous resolution - to focus on what's right with our lives. Good idea!

And I totally get being forced out of a job you love. Sigh.

Thanks for commenting! :)