I’m not making New Year’s resolutions again – reflections only. I’d like to say 2018 was challenging, pushing me to become my best ever. The truth is 2018 was a roller coaster ride with some Ferris wheel spins. Most of the time I felt like throwing up.
As Martin’s rare form of dementia has progressed, so has my grief. So have the number of household jobs I’ve taken on. If anyone wants to know how to fix a dishwasher, shimmy into a crawl space while on the lookout for spiders and snakes, get the broken front door handle replaced as the air conditioner is also being replaced or negotiate with the insurance company after your husband’s been hit by an errant driver while bicycling (Martin escaped with ‘just’ cuts and bruises), let me know. I can do all of that and much, much more.
I am and always have been a planner, keeping calendars with events months in advance, carving out time for my pursuits. Now, nothing can be planned even when I plan it. Calendared events are never a sure thing. There are certain situations which cannot be handed off to a helper, like the huge thud in the attic as the air conditioner blows up or the overflowing dishwasher or the leak under the sink. You don’t say, “Well, I’m off to the gym.”
As time for myself continues to shrink and well-meaning people ply me with advice (I’d rather they just listen), my retirement life is not what I envisioned. But, it is what it is. I have no choice other than making the best of it.
Despite all that, I’m looking forward to 2019. A clean slate. A fresh start. 2018 is almost over. Out with the old; in with the new. Time to let go, forgive, move on.
Everything that could possibly be replaced or repaired in the house is done. When Martin had to stop driving last summer, I traded both vehicles for one new car. I’ve said goodbye to fake friends, grudges, bad habits, doubts and anything toxic.
Speaking of toxic, toward the end of 2018 I further adopted additional natural remedies for managing stress. Supplementing meditation and mindfulness is Solfeggio music. What is Solfeggio music? It’s music based on ancient chants using the frequencies of the universe and your brain to achieve harmony and balance in your body. I listen to it daily for hours and hours. It not only relaxes me, it also relaxes Martin and our cats. It is now the background music of our life story.
Slipped inside my pillow case, a muslin bag filled with dried lavender buds and hops makes for a restful night. Diffusers filled with lavender and patchouli water scent the air. I’m back to my daily walk, rain or shine. When I worked, I treated myself to a monthly massage. Why I discontinued that ritual just because I left the daily grind is a mystery to me. It’s been resurrected as good for the body and spirit.
Rituals and routine are good for us. They provide a sense of stability in an unstable world. Routines reduce stress and anxiety. They minimize the need to plan, especially when life seems out of our control. Through routine we maintain good habits. Rituals, like having a bowl of good luck lentil soup on New Year’s Day, not only mark the passage of time, but also honor our cultural heritage linking us spiritually to our ancestral past. Rituals connect us as family and community. They can turn an ordinary day into an event.
Lastly, I go into 2019 with my sense of humor mostly intact. Life demands a sense of humor, especially when faced with a heavy burden. Humor not only eases your mental stress, it can have profound effects on your physical health, reducing inflammation in your body. Surround yourself with happy people who support your happiness as well as your struggles. I have a friend with a quirky sense of humor, where he and I will be laughing at something when no one else sees the humor. One needs friends like that.
Goodbye 2018…Welcome 2019!