Well, here we are, January 1, 2016, staring down the barrel of another year. The time when we make all those resolutions, again. Someone once said that resolutions are something that goes in one year and out the other. I believe they were right. We are, after all, exactly who we have decided to be. We look, think, and act as we do because we are either very comfortable with ourselves or too lazy to do anything about it. In my case, I suspect it is a combination of both.
That is where the “aha moments” come in. They are those random occurrences of such clarity that you cannot ignore them. And, if embraced, can be catalysts of change. I had one last June when my Dr told me I weighed 229 pounds. Up til then, I thought I was just cuddly. Instead, I was obese. I had two options. I could either lose weight, or get taller. After dismissing the latter as unreachable, I embarked on a plan to lose the weight. I started walking three miles most mornings and practicing portion control. Six months later, I am down 35 pounds. I couldn’t wait to see my Dr last week to show off the new svelte me. When he didn’t comment, I decided to press the issue and inquired as to what a healthy weight for me would be, expecting I would be “in the zone”. Instead, he printed off a copy of the Body Mass Index that showed I have gone from obese to overweight. A little disappointing, but the good news is, I would only have to grow half an inch to cross the finish line. The point being, it was an aha moment that got my attention and motivated the change.
I had another such moment yesterday. As I have mentioned before, I give my Thursday afternoons to a nursing home. I don’t do much. Mingle, laugh, encourage, cajole, and give some attention to those that look like they could use some. Yesterday, being New Years Eve, the recreation director had put together a cocktail party for the residents. Sparkling grape juice and assorted snacks. I enjoy my time at the home because I know that as I continue to age, I too could be sipping grape juice. After wheeling one of my friends down to the rec area, I sat down next to her and her roommate. Soon we were joined by other residents until we had a full table. It turned out that it was also someones birthday so all the staff gathered around and we all sang happy birthday to the birthday girl. I don’t think she understood that we were singing to her, but she seemed to enjoy it, so I guess that made it worthwhile. Soon we were all hoisting a cup to the new year as strains of songs from the fifties and before offered some entertainment. Some of the residents did not recognize the songs, and I found it curious that I did. I mentioned that some of them were the kind of songs that they played at my prom. Songs like “Chances Are” and “Tell Me Why”. Joan, who was sitting next to me ventured that this was when the girl would lay her head on her partners shoulder. Bill, sitting across from us asked Joan when she graduated from high school. After thinking for a minute, Joan replied “1961”. Bill smiled and said “I got you beat. I graduated in 1960”. And here came the aha moment. I graduated in 1957. I suddenly realized that all this time that I thought I was visiting the elderly, I have in fact been visiting my peers. The only thing really separating us is I don’t have a wheelchair.
So today, upon the birth of another year, I have decided to make a couple of resolutions. I will continue to lose the few additional pounds and be thankful that I am able to walk every day. I will continue to visit with my friends and be thankful that but for the grace of God go I. And, I will count this year not as being one year older, but instead as being one more year that I have been given to do something with, and I shall. I know there are more aha moments in my future. Happy New Year everyone.