Some of you may have read about my plans to celebrate a perfectly imperfect Christmas. So, I thought I'd report on how it went and what lies ahead in the new year.
First, I will say that opinions on my somewhat homely Christmas tree varied from my older daughter who doubled over in laughter at the sight of it to friends who thought it beautiful because the ornaments shown brightly in the big gaps between branches.
You may judge for yourself. The limbs, which sagged immediately when I put lights on them, now threaten to drag the floor and undecorate themselves as ornaments slide off.
But, it's at least been a conversation piece and a focal point for a wonderful holiday season.
Both of our daughters got home for a week, with minimal travel hassles. Our dear friends from Chicago came for a slightly longer-than-usual visit. And relatives from Pennsylvania visited between Christmas and New Year's. Throw in a few church services, along with outings and dinners with local friends, and our holidays were lively, warm and special. New Year's Day was quiet and reflective. Perfect.
Maybe the holidays felt more special than usual to me because I am so aware of life's fragility, after the loss of my sister last year. Add to that my husband's recent surgery and follow-up treatments, and I am learning to appreciate every day.
So, what will 2018 hold?
Today is an unusually cold and snowy day in Virginia, where I live. As I watch more than a foot of snow accumulate outside my window, it's a perfect time to reflect on the new year.
I hope it brings good health for me and my family. I will try to be grateful for health and all the little blessings in my life: the snow cloaking the world in white; the bluebirds I see on a walk; the dog who gets me out for a daily walk; the warm seafood posole my husband makes for dinner; the cozy new throw that keeps me warm. I started a "happiness journal" last year, which I hope to continue. Focusing on and expressing gratitude is a healthy habit for me.
I will also work to share good experiences and create special memories with friends and family. One of my daughter's gifts to me was a photo session to get an updated family picture (see above). That's a gift I will cherish. And we have a family vacation planned in the spring. More memories to come.
As of now, this year will also include some doctor visits and treatments for my husband. I will do my best to be supportive and gentle (not always easy for me).
And I will work to care for my own health during this stressful time: continue at least twice weekly visits to the weight circuit at my gym; walk 10,000 steps most days of the week; practice yoga at least twice weekly; and walk with friends when possible to add socialization to some workouts.
In addition to regular exercise, my husband and I will continue trying to improve our diet: more veggies and fruits; more seafood and lean meats; more beans and nuts; less red meat; less alcohol; and more dark chocolate (can't give it all up, now can we?). Read more about the best diet for 2018.
I would also love to be more adventurous in 2018. Take more trips. Try new hobbies. Volunteer. Garden more vigorously.
I haven't set my personal goals for this year, but I know the focus will be on staying healthy and helping my family stay healthy.
I wish good health and much happiness for you and your family in 2018! And please keep reading HealthyWomen.org to share health tips and concerns and to get solid health advice.