Looking Forward

I know it sounds trite, but I honestly can’t believe that 2019 is already over.   I know I’ve  reached the age where time seems to go by at warp speed, but I’m still having a hard time accepting that we are now into a brand-new year.

IMG_5150Part of the problem is probably that this past year has been an especially busy one, in both good ways and bad.  It was a good year for travel, with a relaxing family vacation in Florida and several visits to out-of-town family and friends.  The highlight was a wonderful cruise on the Rhine River last May that enabled us to visit four different countries and sail along the famously scenic Rhine Gorge.  We also welcomed a new dog into our home, which is both a joy and an adjustment as we all learn each other’s ways.  (He’s taught us not to leave food unattended, and we’re trying to teach him that furniture is off-limits for dogs.)

The biggest challenge, by far, was my mother’s decision to move into a small apartment in a nearby retirement community.  It was absolutely the right decision, but it involved a tremendous amount of time and work to get her packed up and moved into her new home.  And then we had to go through all the stuff she and my father had accumulated during their lifetime and decide what to do with it all.  (Note to self:  get rid of all unnecessary possessions.  Immediately.  Don’t saddle our kids with this task.)  Getting the house ready for it’s new owners was the next step, which involved lots of cleaning, painting, updating, and dealing with a few unpleasant discoveries such as the impressive mold growth under the kitchen sink from an undetected leak.

All in all, the past few months have been such a whirlwind of activity that the holidays basically sneaked up on me this year, and by the time I got into the Christmas spirit, they were almost over.  Can it truly be time to take the Christmas tree down when it seems as if I just put it up yesterday?   Thank goodness for the traditions that we observe each year, because those provide the memories that make the holidays so special and real, even during the years that they rush by a little too quickly.

And thank goodness for the changes that each year brings, too.  It’s comforting to know that Mom is so happy in her new apartment, with a support system that she needs at this stage of her life.  It’s fun to see my daughter and son-in-law buying my mom’s old house and making it into their own family home.  Best of all was the special present we received from my son and daughter-in-law on Christmas morning:  the news that we’re going to be adding another grandchild to our family this coming June.

So while I might not have been quite ready to say good-by to 2019, I’m not really sorry that it’s over.  I’ll treasure the good memories and try hard to remember the lessons I learned from the challenges.  But mostly, I’ll look forward into 2020 and do my best to make it a very good year.  Happy New Year to you all!

88 thoughts on “Looking Forward

  1. Well, that’s the best present that anyone could ever ask for, Ann! Congratulations on your news and everything you have achieved this year. As you know we have been through a similar situation with our parents and after many years we can look back with humor…you might not be there yet! I nearly poked Teddy in the eye when he wanted to find his Masonic penny (to gift to a Masonic friend) and we searched our very tidy house. We did find it in a tiny little boy’s suitcase with love letters and other fun stuff (cigarette cards?) The penny has moved through three continents. We WILL continue to attempt to sell or gift what we perceive as priceless possessions but I suspect our executor will employ someone to do the deed. Teddy and I won’t care because we will be dead. On that note, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • We were planning to sell it on the market, but once they said they were interested, we told them they could buy it instead. Now we’re just waiting for them to sell their house to seal the deal!

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  2. Wonderful news, all of it, except that the Christmas holidays flew by you too quickly. I’m looking forward to St. Valentine’s Day decorations and buzz; seasonally, it seems a neutral day with more than just a promise of Spring, somehow! Happy 2020, Ann.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your 2019 sounds like a garden, Ann. Flowers and a couple of weeds. But given sufficient time, we will see hidden beauty in even the weeds.
    I think it’s especially lovely that in the final days of the year, you noticed a brand new flower bud in that garden.

    How sweet a note your year has ended on!

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    • Thank you! I think every year has it good and bad, but this past year really was mostly good. Just busy, and we can certainly handle that! And as you say, the very best news is that our family is growing and that our son and daughter in law are going to be parents. My heart is full!!!

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    • It really was, Peter! We got to spend time in Germany, Switzerland, France and the Netherlands, and loved it all. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I hope you and your family had a wonderful New year’s, and nothing but the best in 2020!

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  4. The older we get the quicker time flies. For sure. Remember being in grade school and a day felt like a year and a year felt like… well forever!

    Congratulations! What lovely news and definitely something to lookvwry forward to. May the new year and decadd bring you everything of the best.

    Peta

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    • Thanks Peta! Happy New Year and I look forward to reading more about your experiences around the world. (And I do remember how slowly time moved when we were children…even hours seemed to take forever when we were waiting for something good!)

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  5. There are always blessings to be notice if we choose to make that our focus. It sounds like you were doing just that as 2019 drew to a close.
    Does helping your mother transition to a smaller living space make you think differently about what belongings you have? I am curious how this may or may not have changed your thinking.
    Happy New Year. Happy new baby to come. Wonderful news.

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    • Yes, it has made me think about my home and possessions very differently (and i actually thought I was a minimalist until I realized just how long it took to go through my parent’s things.) Now I want to downsize drastically and only keep the things that truly are dear to me. As for the rest: pass them on to someone who might actually use them! And honestly, the older I get, I realize that it is people who give me joy, not things. Have a very happy New Year, Ali!! You have a kind heart, a wise mind and an incredible talent with words…..

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      • Ann, I am impressed with your commitment to reflect and be in action to create your life. I have a friend who writes the date and place of where she got a special object on the bottom of it so that her children will have more information.
        I personally find the story of family belongings to be more interesting to me than the object itself. I wish I had more of the stories from family members that are now gone.
        Thanks for finding value in my poetry and believing in my voice. 2020 is full of new openings. Be well.

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    • Happy New Year to you, too, Paula! And I agree, change is normal and we certainly can adjust. I think the problems occur when we try to hard to cling to the past. But with a new grandbaby on the way, it’s easier for me to look forward now!

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  6. Happy New Year! You did have a busy year and I feel the same way as my year was packed also. We are keeping the tree up longer to enjoy after doing all that work. My husband and I did not exchange gifts this year as we had to “pack” up our things to have the house painted. It is a bountiful year for Good Will with donations from our house.

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    • Yes, I’m enjoying the tree more now that I have time to sit and look at it. And I’ll leave it up until January 6th this year. I’m glad Good Will benefited from you having your house painted! Isn’t it amazing how much we decide to part with once we actually have to go through it? Happy New Year!

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  7. 2019 really was a year of change for your family, and 2020 promises to continue that trend with a new grandchild on the way. Happy New Year and congratulations on the great news, Ann!

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    • You’re right about the changes Des…I think 2020 is certainly going to continue that trend. But at least the changes have been mostly good this year, and I suspect that the next year won’t be quite so busy. Even if it is, I’ll deal! Happy New year!

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  8. After cleaning out my mom’s place once she passed, I’ve come to the same conclusion as you…I’m streamlining my own life so my kids don’t have to wrestle with all that down the road. And I’m finding that it makes things more enjoyable now, not having so much stuff to keep track of/maintain.

    And congrats on the soon-to-be new arrival. Let’s try and leave her/him a better world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, streamlining our possessions (and life) doesn’t just make things easier on our kids after we’re gone, it makes our lives easier here and now. That’s why I’m anxious to get started in my own life and clear more things out! And you know the best thing about babies? They do motivate us to try to make the world a better place for them. Let’s hope we can at least move a little closer to that goal…

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  9. A very personal retrospective on the past year. I’m glad everyone seems to be settled into their new living quarters and looks ready to move on to the next chapter of their lives. That’s one of the real tests of a healthy attitude toward life, I feel–are you ready to move forward? (Even if you don’t know what you’re moving toward.) Life seems like it’s meant to move forward, and we need to be ready to muddle along with it. Anyway, glad all is well. : )

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    • Thank you, Cathleen! And yes, I’m very ready to move forward into the new year, and am hoping that it is a good one. You’re right about the healthy attitude: it makes a world of difference. Happy New Year!

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  10. Happy New Year! I am envious that you are going to be a grandmother again! Congratulations! It is wonderful that your mother’s house is going to be occupied by family – I know several people who bought relative’s homes and no one ever regretted it. Those homes are full of memories…

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    • Yes, at first I kind of wondered if this was a good idea, but it turned out very well. Mom was able to store a few of the things shes couldn’t bear to part with in the basement of her old house, and we don’t have to list the house to the general public. Plus, the house is a very good fit for my daughter’s family, and it makes Mom happy to be able to go back and visit her old house with family in it! Happy New Year!

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  11. Oh, my, Ann, when you put it all together like that, I am exhausted just reading about your year, even though I’ve been following you for a while! Your grace in the midst of so much change and chaos and in the quiet aftermath is inspiring. You feel like my next door neighbor! May this new year bless you with comforts and rewards and opportunities that please you. I’m so happy to hear that your mother has landed in just the right place. And that your daughter and husband bought her place! Wow! More grace!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! It does feel as if everything has worked out very well, which makes all the craziness and hard work worth it. I don’t know that I always exhibited grace throughout the process, but I did try to take it “one day at a time” and to realize that we were working toward a goal that would be good for our whole family. Your comment reminds me of why I like your blog so much: you tend to go straight to the heart of the matter, and to see the gifts of grace in almost any situation. Happy New Year!

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  12. Certainly a busy year, Ann. Congratulations on the anticipated grandchild who will grace the new decade for you, half way through the year. I was delighted that my newest granddaughter came out to Australia for a “warm” Christmas, leaving the cold of Canada behind. But what a welcome….drought, extreme heat and now the terrible fires. A difficult way to conclude 2019 for us on our farm, but an even scarier start to 2020 with this whole part of our State erupting in flames on New Year’s Eve.
    Lets hope the ash and dust settle as we crave the cool and comfort of autumn in a few months, and that we can embrace the promise and hopes of another decade – a decade that please, doesn’t rush by as fast as the last ten years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so sorry you’re in the area effected by the fires! I can’t begin to imagine how hard and scary that must be, and can only pray that it’s over soon. I’m sure it was very hard to celebrate a new year when you’re coping with such a huge disaster, and even worse when it impacted your granddaughter’s visit. Here’s hoping that 2020 ends much better than it started for you and all your neighbors!

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  13. I’m looking forward to reading more of your life-filled posts Ann, they always resonate so well with me and are insightful as we navigate daily life. It’s obvious they also speak to so many other bloggers too, by the amount of conversations your shared thoughts generate! Realistic and hopefilled, a great combination! Xx

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  14. Happy New Year, Ann. I’m all about moving forward, with a nice dose of remembering the good times from years past. That said, I don’t want any time to go too quickly, but it helps to always have something to look forward to, and if we don’t, we need to create something to keep us pointed. Great post.

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