The year comes to an end, and that always marks a time of new beginning for us as well as review of events of the past year. It has been a year of minimal blogging for me. I've had little interest in opining on politics or current events, and have been more focused inward in my life.
January brought the completion of my kitchen remodel which started the year off right. It has been a year of parties and entertaining and sheer enjoyment as a result.
February my daughter surprised us all with a secret marriage. It was a wonderful thing as her husband, my son-in-law, is such a fine person and they are both so suited to each other. I have been most happy with this event.
The wedding prompted plans for a party in June, which led to my locating a landscaper. Improving my outside areas became the theme of spring, summer and fall. I've posted many pictures of the process and, again, could not be more happy about the outcomes. For the first time in the 31 years I've lived here, the entire yard is finished and beautiful - and just the way I want it.
Mid-summer brought the wonderful event of the Paul McCartney concert, attended by my sisters and me and several of my dearest friends. It was thrilling and unforgettable.
The first part of the year found me still weepy about the death of my ex-husband. I began to feel weary of teariness and determined to try to bring about a change. I set a deadline on the anniversary of his death in July, promising myself no more tears and no regrets. It became my theme for the rest of the year. I found simply making that decision and setting a deadline and observing it worked for me. And though the memories still arise, I no longer find myself on the verge of tears when they do.
My emotional strength was further challenged when J and I said goodbye in May as he moved to Minnesota. We had been together for two and a half years - I was only separated but not divorced when we met. He was a touchstone for me through the separation, the legal hassles, the many ensuing events. He was an escape when I needed it. He was someone intelligent and informed to talk with, someone witty to laugh with, someone warm and kind to be with. Neither of us anticipated how hard it would be to say goodbye. Even now we stay in touch by phone and email, and I feel I have a friend for life. I extended my no-tears-no-regrets theme to J, and we both agreed that was the way it had to be. The distance between us would be impossible to overcome and we both needed to find new companions. We haven't yet, but we will. But long phone conversations, talking and laughing, continue to help bridge that gap.
In the last half of the year I began thinking seriously about the time when I would retire from work. After a talk with my boss, it was decided it was time to bring on another writer for our staff. We have begun the interviewing process and my hope is to find someone who will fully replace me and I can leave when I'm ready. That will be in about two years.
I turned 63 this week. It feels absolutely no different from 62. However, physically I've failed to take care of myself this year and have gained back some of the weight I lost. After the loss of my ex-husband, I stopped walking daily and stopped watching what I ate. The pounds crept back almost imperceptibly. I did take up bicycling, but that wasn't a daily activity and was not enough. I know I have to return to my walking routine. When J left, I did worse for awhile, but turned things around in November. I am back on the right track now, heading in the right direction and hope to continue that into the new year.
I do have some goals for the new year. Continuing to get into better shape. More improvements around the house. More music - both piano and guitar, and perhaps lessons. More bicycling. Keep up the landscaping. More birdwatching and photography. In other words, just keeping on keeping on.
In summing it all up, the year definitely ends in the positive column for me. I feel happy, contented, and strong. I know there will be tough things to deal with in the new year. But that's life. I'm feeling prepared for what is to come next.