Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ring Out the Old, Ring In the New

My New Year's resolutions were going to be the same as always--lose weight, exercise, eat more fruit, blah blah blah. Now that I'm 61-years old, it's probably a good idea to work on my cholesterol, too. In fact, you'd probably be reading about that right now if I hadn't had an epiphany.

It was right after Thanksgiving. I was skimming the newspaper, but my thoughts were elsewhere--then I saw an upsetting headline: a 71-year old woman had gotten her purse snatched in front of a grocery store. The robber had knocked her down and hurt her rather badly.
Yikes. Not going to Kroger anymore. (But I have to! How will I buy chocolate?)

I called my mother immediately--she's almost 88--and told her to be careful. We talked about the state of the world, then we began to worry about the woman--was she okay?
Had the robber broken her hip?
"The elderly often have brittle bones," I said.  (But I'm thinking: Not going to Kroger or Publix!)
"You're almost elderly," Mama said.
"Say what?" I cried.
"That woman is only ten years older than you, dearie-dear," Mama said.
Argh, that can't be so. 71 is, like, super old. Right?
"You act super old," Mama said.

True. So true. But I really was looking down the barrel at my 70s and 80s. Ready or not, the clock was ticking. How did I want to spend the next decade? Did I want to keep doing what I was doing?
Would I ever make time to enjoy simple pleasures?

"These are the last, best years of your life," Mama said. She's that way, Miss Cheerful. Miss Sunshine. But she had a point. When I was 51, I moved a little faster. The Lord willing, if I made it to 71, would I look back with regret? When was I going to start enjoying my days? There's a difference between "living your life" and enjoying it. One is akin to survival, which is a basic need, but the other is a choice. Did I want to keep making the same choices? And keep putting off the fun stuff until I had time? Until I didn't feel guilty for stealing what time I had?

Like my Mimi used to say, "Our time on earth doesn't come with a guarantee. Carpe Diem, babydoll."

It was time to Carpe Diem a little. Time to look ahead to 2015 and beyond.

The first--and hardest--task is to figure out what works and what is broken. My Mimi used to say, "When something's done, it's done. And when something is finished, something else begins. You have to clear the old to make way for the new."

Drop that heavy old anchor and sail onward.

Wouldn't it be easier to go on a low carb diet?
I mean, really. Working on the inner self is like doing surgery with your eyes closed!
"Trust yourself," Mama said. "You'll know what to cut and what to leave alone."

With the debris cleared, maybe I'd have time to do the things I love. When you're doing things you love, you move into a creative zone. And you can make that zone even more creative.

So, this isn't the year that I try to lose weight or stop eating chocolate or force myself to lift weights.

No, I'm going inward.
Tweaking and taking risks.
My "word" for 2015 is Try. My oldest son suggested that I do this--come up with one
word that would inspire me every single day. 

I'll still be working out the kinks when I'm 71, I'll still be trying hard, but hey, I've got to start somewhere, right? 
Like I told Mama, I'm 61 years young, and the next decade isn't looking so grim. Age is just a
number; but it's also a state of mind.

For 2015, I've got a plan. And maybe, just maybe, I'll grow a little, learn something new, and have some fun along the way.

What makes you happy?

Do you have any resolutions for your blog in 2015? 

I've enjoyed spending 2014 with you guys!
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  1. Don't worry about old age. I was seventy this year and so far it's not that bad. Live a little, go to Krogers. I know whatever you do you'll do it with style and grace. Wishing you a happy and healthy new year ML.

    1. Sam, you are amazing in and out of the kitchen--in everything you do. I hope you have a fabulous 2015!!

  2. Thanks for the reminders...I don't want to wish I had done something while I could have..getting back on a horse this year. I used to ride for HOURS a day, everyday...and it is exercise I truly love...

  3. Thanks for a beautiful reminder to do things that make us happy, that make a difference to our lives and the lives of those we love. I just discovered your blog recently and I am now a frequent visitor. I very much enjoy your sense of style and your writing. My resolutions for my own blog? More comments! I'd love to engage more with my readers. Happy New Year!

    1. What a wonderful gift to read your words this morning! I wish you all the best in 2015!

  4. I love your inspiration boards Michael Lee, so full of optimism and joy! Yes, life is too short to cut out chocolate and not drink fine wine~life is for savoring, and choosing what makes you happy. Thanks for sharing your path to happiness, and I sure would like to meet your Mama! I know you will succeed in everything you "try" :)

  5. What an inspiring post! It's kind of a whole mind change thing isn't it. I've slowly felt my way of life sort of shifting to something like this. I'm 56, so a little younger (but just barely!) and I think we are at a great time of life to do what we want!

    1. I agree--it's a great time. Change is A Good Thing. Happy New Year, Pam!

  6. We're not officially elderly until we qualify for Medicare, right? From one crone to another, Happy New Year, and here's to good health for us both! ;-)

  7. LOL! First smile of the day, Pattie. I hope you have the most wonderful year!

  8. I love your attitude...I am only making one of truly enjoy each and every day!...Happy New Year!!!

    1. I wish you the happiest year ever, Shirley!

  9. I like your mama and mimi! Sage ladies. Love the Carpe Diem Baby phrase! That will be my mantra....Carpe Deim Baby! Just turned 63, but thanks to some wonderful genes I can still keep up! Skin starting to get a very few wrinkles. Just a few grey hairs...but my salon can fix that! Ha! Parents in mid 80s and very active. But their cholesterol problem I did inherit. Running a 5k, not on your life. But I plan to walk more this year. Saw my internist this week and cholesterol is down...on my own. Had to let the statins go. Side effects! My dad also each day as though it were your last! I try to remember that!
    Best wishes from south central KY.
    Carpe Deim Baby! Love it
    Happy New Year!

    1. Mimi would have loved that! I hope to walk more, too. Many years ago, my seat-mate on a (bus) tour of Britain was in her mid-80, and she was spry and a delight. Mama and I could barely keep up with her. She told me to walk--"Because when the legs go, you go." Thanks for reminding me about walking. Carpe Diem, Baby!

  10. I don't feel old yet, Michael Lee, and I'm going on 66. I do water aerobics and yin yoga, things that are kind and gentle on the body. I loved all your ideas, especially just the one word...TRY. That's all we really can do...TRY our best in living the happiest life.
    Happy New Year to you, my friend! xo

  11. Loved this post.....great things to think about as I look forward to 2015!

  12. Michael Lee,

    I enjoyed this post SO much. And I loved hearing what your grandmother had to say. Grandmothers are fonts of wisdom. My grandmother was big on, "Pretty is as pretty does." She really liked to quote that if I said I thought someone was beautiful who was of dubious character to her. Not eccentric or anything like that, but selfish and me-centric. And she is right. One of the most beautiful girls I ever knew was ugly as a mud fence but lovely on the inside where it counts. Her laugh was like bells tinkling, and her smile lit up a room. And her actions? Impeccably loving. She was a true beauty. My grandmother had it going both ways, but her spirit of kindness and love radiated like a furnace. Oh, to be more like her! She is the person I admire most in the world. She also had great compassion for widows and orphans, and I do believe that I have inherited that from her. The trick is to carve out the time needed to minister to them. Next year, I plan to make extra special efforts to love on my friends who have lost their parents or spouses or both.

    I am going to try to not allow stress to overtake me. I have been doing my best not to dwell on things that bug me. After the last few months, I started to adhere to these resolutions early.

    I also want to clean out and clear out. But if I don't, so what! You can only do so much in the day. And I try to cherish my time with Mr. Magpie. That is VIP as he is often so busy, and I am running in 30 directions.

    My father was famous for never forgetting to say, "Please," "Thank You", and "I love you." He had scrupulous manners and was ever the gentleman coupled with a sense of humor and love for the absurd. His "I Love You" meant so much to me, and I am grateful for having a solid sense of self from a father's love. It helped me to understand God's love for us, too.

    I am also going to have to let go of an old friend. We are going to be putting our house on the market at some point, and as much as I hate it, I just have to know that life brings new adventures. It does. And I can't wait!

    I am going to try to plan ahead and not guilt trip myself if something goes awry. If Christmas is delayed, February is just as good for celebrating as December. I learned that lesson several years back. Celebrate. Celebrate each day. Cherish loved ones. It's all good! :-)

    And I need to be sure and keep track of the things for which I am grateful. Like blogging friends. Old friends. New friends. Family. The Lord. Most of all, The Lord. And chocolate! ;-)

    Sending you much love and prayers for health, wealth, happiness, and prosperity throughout the year to come!

    Happy New Year!


    Sheila :-)

    P.S. I would love for you to enter my giveaway. I am giving away a copy of FLAIR by Joe Nye. I realize it has been out a few years, but since my posts seem to be limited these days to tablescaping, I thought my blogging friends might also enjoy it.

    1. I thought of something last night I wanted to tell you that my grandmother used to tell us. To wit, "Only babies and old people can get away with things, and when I'm old, I plan to get away with murder!" This, from a woman who remarried when she was on the eve of becoming an octogenarian. She lived to be 97! ;-)

  13. My 71st birthday was in July 2014. I keep in daily touch with several of my class of '61 mates. We firmly believe we have not reached elderly, quite yet.
    When I was 60 we built our home and bought a weekend place. We loved the challenges that provided. Through my 60's there were many adventures...including the beginning of Back Porch Musings. BPM led to a whole new creative outlet in photography, which I still enjoy.
    I continue to learn and grow with each decade. I am not moving as quickly now, but I am still moving. J's health issues have presented special challenges. We meet each one head on. They are another opportunity to learn and grow.
    Now we are in the process of selling our home. It may or may not happen. Even though the sign is in the yard, I am still decorating. I just can't seem to stop!
    I enjoyed this post so very much.
    Wishing you all the best in 2015 and beyond!

    1. I love how you are still decorating even though your house is for sale. I have a tendency to get completely sidetracked by family illnesses (and canine ills) and house issues. Your posts are life-affirming and inspiring.

  14. Michael Lee, I think the "try" chart is a great way to approach the new year. I'll be 67 in a few weeks. I look at the practicality of having a window of time to do the things that make me happy. It's now or never from here on out. ;-)
    Thanks for sharing these great idea. Good luck with your dreams and ambitions for 2015.

    1. You are so right, Sarah--a time comes when it's "now or never." It's not as panicky as I expected, but it does give one pause--and the motive to do something about it. I wish you all the best in 2015.

  15. What great advice. Mom's always have a way of keeping it real! Mine does that! Happy New Year!

  16. Michael Lee, thank you for your inspirational post. Most everything you've said here has been running through my head for a while now-- basically that life is short and a gift not to be squandered. Thank you for the reminder to seize the day!