Last year ends as January opens another trip around the sun.
Considering the randomness of life, I begin the year with deep gratitude for friends, family, experiences, and all the little things that make me smile. What was present is past, what is now present is a gift, and what is ahead are wondrous possibilities.
Time has a profound way of overlapping. Some people have filled the void left by those who have passed. Vacuums don’t last long.
As Tony Bennett passed, his legacy survives, and the auditorium is filled with other, younger musicians, but by no means less talented and inspiring. It’s a pattern of passing the “time baton” to another generation. As I explain to my granddaughter (as if I am preparing her for when I won’t be here), “It’s the way of things.”
We are sad to say goodbye while we keep the memories close and begin again. The sun rose this morning as it has for billions of years, and we have another day ahead to enjoy the sunshine.
One of the exciting aspects of genealogy is discovering relatives who were part of this time pattern: one lost, another grows up and takes the lead. One after another, generation after generation, as one story ends, another begins. Historical contexts vary, but humans don’t. We all want the same things: love, respect, and hope for the future. Who were these people? I am just the current iteration of a long line of ancestors.
It’s winter outside. The air is brisk. My garden is enjoying a rest. Where I live, can snow be far away? I fix a cup of hot tea and quietly reflect on the past year and how fortunate I am to be enjoying this morning.
As a chronic list-maker, one list I never write is “New Year’s resolutions.” I prefer broad strokes on a yearly canvas with a few specific steps.
There are certain authors whose works I have never explored, such as Ernest Hemingway, but in between other books, I am reading Hemingway’s works chronologically. So far, I’m up to 1930 with the best yet to come.
Travel is always on my mind. Between family visits, one good trip to someplace new is in the offing. Where to? With whom? How to set the funds aside? These quiet days are lovely for imagining the possibilities. There is nothing like a Rick Steves travel video to entice me to “go there.”
One fun skill I’ve been developing in the past year is painting terra cotta flowerpots. I have painted several, given many away as gifts, and have been saving designs for future use. Instagram posts by artists have taught me some interesting techniques I would like to try as my brush skill improves. Combining artistry with gardening is a “win-win” for me.
Maintaining health is a concern for anyone my age. It’s never too late to make dietary changes that will prove beneficial in the long run. To this end, I am transitioning to more organic and plant-based foods.
My children taught me how to make this work — an excellent example of overlapping generational patterns. We are never too old to learn from our children if we listen carefully.
So, while I can do these things, I will do them — make new friends along the way and participate in the wider world.
That said, the current political and cultural situation concerns me greatly. Few leaders study history, much less understand the long-term impact.
In my opinion, few leaders seem to think long-term anymore. Perhaps this reality results from our must-have-it-right-now culture. The push to win outweighs the cost and the passive acceptance of violence in our culture.
Where will displaced humans be welcomed as the Earth warms and weather is less predictable? Or will they be welcomed at all?
It is easy to let these matters overshadow the joys of the moment and marginalize hope for the future.
I’ve resolved to stay current and try to understand these patterns while not allowing concerns to cast a long shadow on my life.
Do what is possible and accept those things that are beyond my control.
We are stardust in the course of history. I find joy in the here and now and will help the next generation carry forward.
Enjoy each day until there are no more. It is the way of things.