Happy 2020 New Year, friends!
2019 had its tough moments, such as receiving middle-of-the-nights calls that my mom had fallen. She had a tough year, fracturing her right hip three times, but is doing much better and loving living near my brother, Steve, and his wife, Debbie, at her new home at Praha Village in New Prague.
But, 2019 is a year I’ll store in my heart for always. It was a year where
- I learned (make that, practiced) bridge (“Relax,” my fellow bridge players constantly say, but the pressure is real! I love the game and the women I’ve come to know, and appreciate being given the opportunity),
- Rick and I made a fantastic friendship re-connection with a couple we knew in our early married years (Julie and Rick are waving at Bob and Karie:-)),
- we celebrated a lot, including a marriage between two people, Joe and Valeria, whom we cherish and adore. A wedding where our granddaughter Olivia, was flower girl
and my sons and daughters-in-law were all in the wedding.It was also a beautiful time for our family and Valeria’s family, where two families came together and who, by the end of the weekend of celebrating, felt like we’d become one special family, even if some of us live in different countries and spoke different languages.
- we attended a nephew and niece-in-law’s wonderful wedding celebration,
- we spent a week in the Florida Keys with lifelong friends (Hi Sue and Kris, Randy and Peggy), where we giggled at a certain person’s (Okay, okay, I’ll give you a hint – he played football at Kennedy High School) silliness with a yellow rubber swim cap, enjoyed the blessed sunshine, and an escape from a long winter,
- Rick took me on a spectacular lifelong dream vacation to France and Italy for seventeen days for our fortieth anniversary in May and June. He turned a blind eye to the euros we were spending and put up with hanging around a complete dork tourist with her backpack, camera case, and camera around her neck to take 5,000 pictures). Though I nearly killed him (accidentally, but really!) in France, I especially love that I got to drive an Alfa Romeo in Italy. Thank you, dear, for a unforgettable trip. A special thanks to Bryce Baker who put together one amazing trip.
My heart is full of gratitude for all that transpired in 2019.
With that, 2020, ready or not, you’re here!
Which leads me to my Word for 2020. PRACTICING
Many of you are planners. I love that about you. And I’ve learned from you. I have even gone so far as to have created a way to keep track of presents bought, received, wrapped and ready under the tree. Especially with Christmas gift-giving (Black Friday is my checking-off-the-list friend). It’s simple, but for me, it works. On an empty page of my Blue Sky planner, I make a list for whom I need to buy presents. Next to each name is the name of the gift(s) and my little box which helps me keep track of where I am in the gifting process. Here’s my little chart:
I know. Primitive. But this handmade system helps me. Once there’s an X next to the person’s name, I know the gift under the tree just needs handing to its recipient. This way of keeping track of gifts takes the stress away, allows me to know the status what presents for whom still need my attention. It also allows me time to menu-plan Christmas meals as well as for the unexpected, always-happens such as someone getting sick or sadly, this year, needing to attend a funeral for a precious little girl two days before Christmas.
In my day-to-day life, though, if I plan too much, my creativity stalls. I know, I know, you planners are writing in your Day-timers to e-mail me a note that says, “But, Julie, Planning is life. Don’t you know that failing to plan is planning to fail?”
Except. . .I came across this book. It’s written for me. I’m certain of it. Its words have shifted my way of thinking about planning. Instead of being overwhelmed by a massive goal that seems unattainable, the author suggests to focus on the process, not the product (such as to be a fantastic golf player or piano player). I can’t tell you how transformative this thought has been to me. It’s made me think of all sorts of things – such as how, as children, we don’t know that we’re learning a language, or learning to crawl or walk. And because we don’t know, the pressure to perform, the pressure to learn, is not there. And in our young innocence, we’re free to just practice learning these things until we actually can do them. He encourages us, as adults, to embrace that kind of mentality, that kind of kindness to ourselves, and to be in the moment as we’re practicing, rather than always forward-focused in achievement.
The Practicing Mind (click here for Amazon, click here if you have a Barnes and Noble membership)
The Practicing Mind’s premise: “to reintroduce you to a process you followed to acquire a skill before you knew what process meant, and it will remind you that life itself is nothing more than one long practice session, an endless effort to refine the motions, both physical and mental, that compose our days.”
I’m still taking in all the sentences that are shape-shifting my brain, but if you’ve been stuck or burdened with feeling like you’ll never get to your goal, I think you might love this book too. The book’s already influencing how I think and it’s only a day into January.
I hope 2020 is off to a great start for you!
About Julie Saffrin
Julie Saffrin is the author of numerous published articles and essays. Her latest book, BlessBack: Thank Those Who Shaped Your Life, explores the power of gratitude and offers 120 creative ways to journey toward positive, lasting change.