Holiday greetings and good wishes are spread around with abandon at this time of year. Even for those who don’t celebrate any of the holidays, the New Year is the time we all flip the calendar over. This past year has gotten me thinking about what those well wishes really mean for us individually. What does a “Happy New Year” look like for you? How will you define your own happiness in 2022? What adjustments are you making from previous years?
I’m struggling with the polarization present in our communities. This isn’t something happening “somewhere else”. It’s very present in my own backyard. The rhetoric only seems to be getting more entrenched and louder. So much louder.
With the passing of the first anniversary of my mother’s death, I’m struggling with defining how to live my life without her. The dementia which afflicted her was a roller coaster ride for just four short years. There was no “long goodbye”.
So, what does a Happy New Year look like for me?
I’m putting one foot in front of the other. I’m rebuilding damaged relationships with people who don’t think like me. I’m focusing on what we have in common. I’m respectful of different opinions and expect the same in return.
I take time to visit the tree we planted in memory of my mother. I talk to her. I’m planning to finally do some writing about her, our relationship, and our experience with dementia. I spend time with the other people who matter most to me. I leave nothing unsaid.
A “Happy New Year” for me looks like leaving space for grief, for difficult conversations, for grace, and for rebuilding.
What does it look like for you?