I turned 60 years old the other day. I do not feel old. Older? I vacillate between being appreciative and upset when I am automatically given a senior discount. I resent the myriad of life insurance coverage and funeral payment plan offers I have been receiving. Other than those minor irritations, I really do not think about age. I am just me, doing what I do. But I am officially retired this year, so that fact is part of the filter with which I will reflect on 2014 and plan for 2015.
Last year was hard. Dad died in early February. He was old, ready to go and did not suffer at the end. He went quickly and even enjoyed his daily piece of chocolate that morning. The grief was a constant companion throughout the year, but—over time—the memories shifted more and more to just treasuring the good times. The hard part was the stress and hassle over settling his accounts and all the paperwork involved. When that finally ended after too many months, I felt a real sense of release, finally.
My goal for last year had been to live in balance throughout the year. The plan had been to achieve some level of balance in work and play, action and contemplation evenly throughout the year. But with Dad’s death that did not happen. However, by the end of the year, I did have some balance—on average. I traveled some, worked part time some, wrote some, read some, connected with friends and family some. Overall, even though challenging in many ways, it was a good year.
For 2105, what are my goals and plans? Rather than specific resolutions, I will once again choose a word as the focus for the year. I follow Holly Gerth’s Coffee for Your Heart blog. Her focus this year is faithfulness. A friend is looking at intentionality. For me, finding an effective balance in my life (read/write, work/play, solitude/community, nature/society) is still important, but my focus will be on action. Not the keep busy, do something extreme every day, go for it sort of action of a Nike commercial. What I want is thoughtful, deliberate purposeful action that will enrich my life, lift my spirits.
I begin this year focusing on these five actions. They cover the basics and will keep me active all year. But I am sure other activities will surface as well. Spontaneity and serendipity cannot be planned for, but they can be embraced at every opportunity!
1. Continue reading a lot but make choices to broaden the types of works I read and to also reread some favorites and classics. My sister suggested the 2015 book challenge posted on the Modern Mrs. Darcy’s blog. I’m going to work on that! I have already picked out Don Quixote as a book to read in translation, even though it is over 900 pages! I am also re-reading Tony Hillerman’s mysteries that follow the efforts of Leaphorn and Chee of the Navajo Police. His books are a great way to visit New Mexico from a comfy chair in Bakersfield, California.
2. Get out in Nature on a regular basis, at least about once a month. I took several trips last year and settled into a plan for monthly retreats and want to keep that up all year long. I need the time in Nature to stay calm, reflective, sane, spiritually aware.
3. Complete projects rather than just plan for them and maybe get started. The first up is sorting through old family photos as I planned to do last year but got sidetracked with all the paperwork and negative fussing surrounding Dad’s death. I’m sure other projects will surface throughout the year as well, but getting the photos reviewed, sorted and scanned is a big undertaking.
4. Post blogs more consistently. I took too many breaks this past year and then got out of the habit of writing, posting, reading and responding. I value the blogging community and do not want to lose those connections.
5. Focus on appreciation and gratitude every day. I keep a gratitude list off and on and am quick to say thank you to others, but not on a regular enough basis. This year, I am building the habit of spending time each day reading a devotional as a way to jump start a daily journal entry. The daily devotional I will be reading is Madeleine L’Engle’s Glimpses of Grace.
These five actions are enough to get me fully engaged in 2015. They are not resolutions really. I see resolutions as one-time accomplishments. These actions will become my daily routines. I am sure I will do some financial planning as well—I am 60 now after all. I am looking forward to a great year.
What are your plans to make 2015 a great year?
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QUOTES ABOUT ACTION
“Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen. . . yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.” Bradley Whitford
“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” Confucius
“In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.” Dalai Lama
“Action is the foundational key to all success.” Pablo Picasso
“Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one’s thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.” Goethe
“Never mistake motion for action.” Hemingway
“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.” John F. Kennedy
“It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.” Zig Ziglar
“Just remember, you can do anything you set your mind to, but it takes action, perseverance, and facing your fears.” Gillian Anderson
“Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.” Alfred Adler
“We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.” Frank Tibolt
“A promise is a cloud; fulfillment is rain.” Arabian Proverb
“An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied.” Arnold Glasow
“Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.” Peter Marshall
“Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action.” Walter Anderson
“Remember, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold—but so does a hard-boiled egg.” Anonymous
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” Mark Twain
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” James Baldwin
“Note to self: Finding a cool quote and writing it in your journal is not a substitute for Getting. It. Done.” Betsy Canas Garmon