This year they were particularly enjoyable. There was a poignancy to our celebration caused, no doubt, by the realization that this was the last holiday our family would spend with the kids living at home full time. The Boy's in college and The Girl’s on her way in September, so next year Third Dad and I will celebrate the first weeks of our holiday season as empty-nesters, until the kids come home for winter break. We’ll adjust, no doubt, but just knowing that things are poised to change made this year’s holidays sweet indeed.
Our trip to Ohio was excellent. My Mom is doing so much better than last year, and actually admitted out loud that her knee replacement has made a tremendous difference in her life. She moves very well now and is experiencing much less pain than before the surgery. The brush with diabetes she experienced in the hospital spurred her to make some changes in her diet, so she’s lost quite a bit of weight and is now doing nearly half an hour on her exercycle every day. At 85 she is often mistaken for someone in her 60s. What a blessing, for her and for us!
We spent time with my brother and his family and with my aunt and uncle, too; did some shopping; watched movies; and just plain relaxed. It was a good trip, with uneventful drives as bookends, which is something else to be grateful for. We returned to a quiet week of a little work for me, friends and activities for the kids, a peaceful New Year’s Eve (The Girl went out to dinner and to a sleepover at a friend’s house; The Boy had a party with some friends from school who spent the night and the next day with us; and Third Dad and I went out to dinner and watched Curb Your Enthusiasm DVDs until the ball dropped;) and a very productive couple of days around the house.
We cleaned closets and have tons of clothes to donate. I did some reorganizing in the kitchen and held my annual “get rid of the old condiments” event. The pile of mending is nearly done, one more zipper to repair and The Boy's pants wardrobe will be complete again. On Saturday we got together with friends for a pot luck. I finally caught up on my email, too, and the bills. It feels good to go into the new year a little more organized than we ended the last one.
2008 was a hard year for many people. My family took its hits, primarily in the 401k, which I still won’t look at after my accidental peek right after the crash. Pretty much everyone I’ve talked to says the same thing now: Why torment yourself over something you can’t change? Either the market will rebound or we’ll have to work longer, but either way there’s nothing we can do. I’m incredibly grateful to have a job, and am taking a more active approach to protecting it in light of the RIFs where I work. For the next four years, my main objective is to stay employed and get my kids through undergraduate school. After that I can reassess where I am and what I want to do going forward.
2009 is going to be a big year for Third Dad and me: We’ll both celebrate hwangap this year - that is, we turn 60, and God willing will have completed five cycles of the Asian zodiac. In Korea, this used to be a big deal, and maybe in some places in Korea it still is. But when I mentioned this to some Korean friends not long ago, they pointed out that no one celebrates it here in the states. Just my luck. But Third Dad and I will celebrate for sure.
It’s scary to even say: 60. Six-oh. But my gosh I’m grateful for every one of these 60 years, particularly when I reflect on how many people don’t even get close. And you know, I feel really GOOD, all things being equal. I have excellent health, most of my friends and family are still alive, and I'm still active. Yeah, there are things about getting old that suck, but plenty that are worth waiting for. What I can’t wrap my head around is how quickly all this time has gone by, with all the experiences that have filled it. Amazing, really, and a blessing.
I usually don’t do New Year’s resolutions, but I have a few this year:
- To bring my lunch rather than eat in our ridiculously overpriced cafeteria which usually makes me sick
- To find an exercise routine I enjoy and can stick to every day, or at least three or four times a week
- To simplify wherever possible. This is going to be my year for getting rid of junk, and stopping the acquisition of new stuff
So here’s to 2009, to health to those who have it, healing to those who need it, peace in all the war-torn places in the world. Here's to success in adoption reform, too: open records for adoptees, rights for single mothers, ethical adoption practices everywhere. Now THAT would make this new year really great!