A glance back to look ahead

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. Instead I believe that every day we should strive to take steps to further our goals. I have a long bucket list and I hope you do too.

I am not looking forward to going to the gym on January 1st. I will probably have to forfeit ‘my‘ parking space in the third spot of the second row. Locker 16 will probably be full. The treadmill closest to the window on the left side will be taken and I will have to wait in line on a Saturday morning for one of the 50 machines like I did last January. The shower in the far left corner will belong to some other naked body.

Anyway, I am not here today to complain about other people’s resolutions…really, I am not. If you want to get healthy and go to the gym for 3 weeks..fine..I will cope.

This is a perfect time of year to reflect on 2017’s winding journey.

I was able to do a lot of traveling this year. We took a trip to Chicago to see the musical Hamilton. We went to Detroit where I ate Greek food for the first time. Opa! We visited Belle Isle. We went to Utah and dipped our feet in the Great Salt Lake. We listened to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing. We took a trip to Walt Disney World without the kids. We sailed for a week to Washington Island. On our 20th anniversary, Paul and I renewed our vows on Rock Island.

We watched our daughter Angel take a lead in her first opera. We watched our son get a perfect score at state for music. All of our kids went to state this year for their theatrical/music performances. I took the community theater stage along with Arabella and Paul to perform in the musical Annie.

But the year was not all roses. There were a few thorns. This year we lost our first parent. Paul’s mother passed away in February after a long courageous battle with cancer. A few weeks later, I lost my last ‘great’ making my parents the oldest living generation. Time is precious in its ticking away.

My daughter Angel broke up with her boyfriend Mitch after 3 1/2 years. My son Alex broke up with his girlfriend Baylee after 1 1/2 years. I thought that they might be ‘the one’. But things didn’t work out that way..

I look on accomplishments of this past year. I did my first trail race (18 miles). I finished my 3rd marathon with a PR. I finished my first Olympic triathlon and my first Half Ironman. I want to add that I never was satisfied with my accomplishments..I never celebrated them until I finished my first Half Ironman. It was the greatest moment of accomplishment that I ever experienced in my life and I am happy that for once I allowed myself to feel the joy from the fruits of my labor.

I just signed up for my first trail marathon next summer on my birthday with my cousin. I will be spending the weekend sleeping in a tent. It will be a pretty hard core birthday celebration. I am thinking about getting a tattoo.

It has been a great year as small business owners. Paul and I received a special certification and hired two new employees.

I know this next year will hold some big and exciting changes…but until then, I want to take some time to glance back before looking ahead.

This year we laughed…

This year we cried…

This year we lived life to its fullest.

Old new years

Do you remember what you were wearing 20 years ago today? For some reason, I seem to. I was wearing a red and beige plaid leotard shirt that had snaps in the crotch. I don’t remember if I was the original owner of the shirt. For some reason, I think that someone gave it to me. Probably because the snaps were really uncomfortable. If it was a fashion, I don’t think that it lasted long for that reason. I did like the shirt design and it fit like a leotard so that part of the shirt was comfortable. I decided to wear that shirt to the New Year’s Eve party in 1995.

The party was held at a cabin a couple of hours away. It was hosted by Paul’s frat buddy. The cabin was owned by his friend’s parents. The party was attended by Paul’s fraternity friends and an ex-girlfriend. The host of the party was a rather eccentric fellow. He had a brilliant mind with bizarre thoughts and behaviors that others at times would find offensive. He was the one who would get lost in complex philosophical theories. His responses were always atypical and hard to understand. But he had great taste in music and people seemed to like him.

I remember that his parents kept a cabin journal and that night I wrote in it. I think that it was a tacky love letter to Paul as we had met a couple months earlier. This was the first night that I heard the band Rusted Root.  I went home and bought the CD. But the real reason that I remember the night so clearly was because it was the night that Paul said he would quit smoking. Smoking was a deal breaker for me.

Paul’s mother was a smoker. She smoked while pregnant with him (it wasn’t as big of a deal in the 1960’s as it is now), she smoked during his childhood, and she finally quit smoking when Paul was in college. Paul came home from college with his new habit the day his mother told him that she quit. Before he met me, Paul had smoked 7 years. When we met, he was in the process of quitting. So at the time we met I did not know that he was a smoker. Then he started back up and then quit again several times over the process of several months until New Year’s Eve in 1995. He said that when the clock struck midnight he would have his last cigarette and throw it into the bonfire extinguishing his habit forever. And that is just what he did.

Since that day, many years have past, a decade went by, and now it has been exactly 20 years. Years of New Year’s parties have flown by, but for some reason that year has stayed etched in my mind down to the clothes I was wearing.