“It is not by muscle, speed, or physical dexterity that great things are achieved, but by reflection, force of character, and judgment.” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
I celebrate my birthday for a month. However, I do not set New Year’s resolutions. Since my birthday is in January, I use the month to reflect on the previous year’s highlights. What gifts, blessings, and accomplishments came my way? What went well month by month? I also consider the lowlights. What didn’t turn out the way I hoped or did not go well? What was hard? Where did I struggle? What was unaccomplished?
Poetry Highlights 2018
First, the highlights and the word is poetry. Last year I attended the Palm Beach Poetry Festival and studied with Mississippi State poet laureate, Beth Ann Fennelly during my birthday week. I had poetry published in two anthologies and one newsletter. Two poems won awards. I submitted two poems to Chicken Soup books, but winners will be announced later in 2019. I wrote a poem Tea Time with Grandma and gave as a table favor at a DAR holiday tea. The poem was also read at the tea.
Travel Highlights 2018
The second word is travel. The trip with Joe to Yellowstone National Park and the stay at Lake Yellowstone Hotel were awesome. Two visits back to the Missouri farm where I grew up and to the country I love were rejuvenating. My 50-year high school class reunion was incredible. I visited Mrs. Kice, my 7th/8th grade Ashton country school teacher whom I adored and had a lovely lunch. During the Christmas visit, my brother Steve surprised me with a VIP tour to James Hoffman’s incredible mansion in Hamilton, Illinois, led by Mr. Hoffman.
Parkinson’s Highlights 2018
The third word is Parkinson’s. I found a talented WordPress and internet consultant to help build my PD website and blog: Parkinson’s My Way—Creativity in Motion which launched in the summer. An anthology published My Parkinson’s Muse essay. A gigantic highlight was getting an appointment with world renowned movement disorder specialist, Dr. Michael S. Okun at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He is now an integral part of my care team.
DAR Highlights 2018
The fourth word is DAR—Daughters of the American Revolution. I was appointed Director on the Seminole Chapter Executive Board and Chairman of DAR School Committee. My 10-year membership anniversary was celebrated in October. I created the Healing Power of Animals and Art Collection Drive to provide hope and help to Crossnore School and Children’s Home in Crossnore, North Carolina. My chapter collected over 200 animal and art items including dog toys, treats, grooming tools, sketch pads, acrylic and watercolor paints, washable markers, glue and Sharpies.
Parkinson’s Lowlights 2018
Now, the lowlights and the word is Parkinson’s. Since Parkinson’s has been my constant companion for over 4 ½ years, it has proven to be both a highlight and lowlight. Stiffness and rigidity are two of my main symptoms which leads to skeletal and muscular challenges. Shoulder pain and a rib out of place kept me in physical therapy. Rapid Eye Movement (REM) disorder caused violent dreams, but a pill at night took care of that demon. Sleep eluded me, but got better when I started the REM pill and added melatonin.
House Lowlights 2018
The next word is house. Several major outdoor projects such as pressure cleaning, fence repair, landscape update, and outdoor step railing did not happen.
Through my reflection every January, I move forward with clarity. I see what unfinished business there is as well as what is not serving me well. I understand what I need to let go to make room for new highlights. The process leads me to setting a theme or intention every year. Simplicity of Self-Care is my 2019 intention. It is unrealistic for me to accomplish all that I did last year again in 2019 without being in the best physical, emotional, and spiritual health that I can be. I must be my advocate for my care and do so in a simple way.
First Intention Challenge of 2019
In December, I scheduled a deep tissue massage for January 2 at 9:10 a.m. During holiday break, the office notified that the therapist would not be in that day and suggested I reschedule. Ok, no problem. I planned to call when the office reopened.
I found out on January 2 the therapist had another schedule change and was now available if I still wanted the original appointment. My first thought was “yes”, but then I heard my intention reminding me of Simplicity of Self-Care. At 7:45 a.m., I crawled out of bed. I was scheduled to take meds in 15 minutes and to eat 45 minutes later. During this wait time, I read, meditate, and do some stretches. I do not rush to shower and dress. I find it unsafe, complicated, and slow until my meds kick in.
Oh, I could probably have made it work since the office is five minutes away. I chuckled how quickly I was challenged. But I stayed true to my mantra and scheduled for Monday, January 7!
Photo Credit: Patrick Szylar