Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year's Resolutions 2011

As I sat down this year to make New Year's resolutions, I first thought maybe I'd just skip it. I always make resolutions about losing weight and exercising more and before January ends, I've usually given up!

This year however, I am coming off a holiday visit with my mother. She has recently moved from independent living to an assisted living situation. Her world has squeezed into a small room and hallway. She chose a very nice retirement facility eight year ago when she was healthy with 5 star amenities, but now that she's given up driving it's really turned into a small little world. As my sister and I visited and tried to take her out, I watched as even the simplest acts, such as getting in and out of the car, turned into dependent activities as she tried to maneuver her walker. My mother was a dancing teacher so to watch her tremble and struggle with even simple physical tasks was very difficult... and also very humbling as I realize that each of us will come to that point in our life when age robs us of some of the things that today seem so easy.

I'm not sure how my mother looks back on her life. I doubt she has many regrets, but as I have been thinking about her and her life, I have become convinced that the lesson for me is that I need to live each day as a gift. And THAT is what I want my New Year's Resolution to be. This week I go to sign a contract to officially retire and then to teach five more years with no chance of teaching longer - at least not in this public school system. Knowing that, I returned to the classroom full time this year because I wanted my last years to be about giving back to the profession that has defined much of my adult life. I wanted to take all that I have seen and learned and invest it into children. It's not that I am on some narcissistic pedestal thinking that I only can make a difference in every life, but through God's grace I do believe that I am meant to be on this road at this time in my life. I'm not really sure where this road will lead or why I need to be travelling it right now, but I do know that for the rest of this year I will try to get up each morning, breath in and out thankfulness, stay in the moment and relish the journey. So... Happy New Year 2011. May this be the best year yet!


Suzanne said...

Living with this positivity will likely make each day a special one. My mom made a New Year's resolution to begin each day by writing down one thing she is thankful for without repeating. It sounds much like your New Year's resolution. Starting the day and the year with this attitude certainly is refreshing.

Susan T. Phillips said...

What a great resolution - one we all need to put into practice. While watching my mother in law, who is young, struggle so this past year I have certainly learned not to take a single day, or my health, for granted.

I will say I think I did just have chest pain reading that you signed the DROP paperwork, what in the world will I ever do without you...

Mrs. Patricia Wallace said...

I completely skipped the 'official' new year resolution thing this year. I always felt disappointed when I finally realize how many promises to myself I'd broken.

My aging parents really made me realize in 2010 that they aren't immortals. My father was diagnosed and treated for bladder cancer. My mother had an accident falling down a flight of stairs which nearly broke her pelvis and neck. Talk about family drama! Living far away from them makes it more difficult to see them as often as they'd like me to. So, I try to communicate with them more often. More phone calls, text messages, and emails.

As you stated, every day is a gift. Lately, I've done more storytelling of my childhood to my children. I realized that my fondest ones were the ones where we spent time together. Note to self... more quality time with my children; the rest is just small stuff.

Thank you for sharing your resolution.

Mrs. Patricia Wallace said...

By the way... I can't believe you're retiring. Are you sure you're old enough to do so?