While not a fan of the rushing and crazy expectations of the holiday season, I have long embraced January 1st as a kind of goal post for new beginnings. Reflection and letting go, dreaming and aspirational planning – I like all that. If nothing else it is an exercise of hope even as the world feels like it’s falling apart. We get to imagine and try to commit to a future that is better than ever.
Birds of Paradise!
Last year was a happy one for me – largely because my kid is happy and because we are both healthy. And I’ve gotten better at living in the present. I’ll try and keep that going in 2024. Of course, there’s some planning involved in life especially when it comes to trips and I took two last year. After hunkering down during COVID, it was nice to get out again. The adventure of Greece and Italy this summer was incredible and I just got back from California where I spent the Christmas with Molly.
At the Getty Museum
It was a perfect shake-up of how we usually celebrate and a nice lead up to what I’m imagining for 2024. While I enjoy the wood stove and cozy home traditions of our holidays in Connecticut, not getting a tree nor going overboard on presents was liberating. My time in LA was spent marveling at exotic flowers in bloom, smelling all the roses on long walks with only a sweatshirt for warmth. Hummingbirds seem to be everywhere and palm fronds rather than brown leaves litter the sidewalks. Writing this back in grey Connecticut, the memory of the weather and landscape and time with Molly is like a dream.
Rufus isn’t crazy about the waves.
Less than a week ago, I tramped across the very long stretch of beach to the waves of the Pacific Ocean pulled off my shoes and wet my feet in the waves. That vast ocean is daunting and mysterious, exciting and terrifying. Thinking about Japan on the other side of all that water gave me comfort and a pang of longing to see friends and corners there that I adore. Maybe that will be in the cards again soon.
Brant Geese wintering in Connecticut
Since returning home to Connecticut, I’m back to walking on the short rocky beaches of the Long Island Sound – a tame Atlantic tidal estuary. Better for bird watching. A huge flock of Brant geese have been hanging about and today there were a few Long-tailed ducks splashing too far for my phone camera to capture.
So what is next? This is the year I get healthcare without working so my plan is to step off the hamster wheel. I’ll figure out the nuts and bolts of surviving and thriving as an oldster. This almost 2 week break I’ve just had over the holidays has been a great taste of what it is to have time. I am ready. For 27 years I have been a good soldier for the same company. Bless them. It’s been good, providing support and stability while I raised my beautiful girl. But I want to find out who I am again without a job claiming my time. More on that as I get nearer to the cliff edge.
Meanwhile, I’ll keep my toes in the water and an eye out for birds. What are you dreaming about? A happy and healthy New Year to you!