Friends, I know I’m looking backwards. But Mel Robbins has told us all in her recent podcasts that in order to move forward in 2024 we need to look back at where we’ve been. So this is what I’ve come up with in my own life. I do hope you will share some of your own lessons learned in the comments.
- I can’t be perfect. Oh, shucks. I’m learning that there is room for chaos in my life. Instead of making my bed I can take a morning walk. Instead of cleaning my kitchen I can marvel at the speck of tabouli still stuck to the backsplash since last summer. As my wonderful “first” husband once told me.. “Rosemarie, the house looks so good and organized. But the drawers are a mess!” Such a metaphor for me. My insides are chaotic but the towel hanging on the oven is perfectly folded and squared.
- A woman “my age” needs to eat more protein! This presents quite the challenge due to my current recoiling to large pieces of animals like turkeys and prime rib roasts. The 2023 holiday dinners just about made me want to join an ashram and go vegan! My current podcast gurus proclaim aging powerfully– not gracefully! Eat your weight in grams of protein! Yikes! Did I hear someone say pass the hummus? How do you like your tofu? Medium rare? Well done?
- I will never again take a writing class. September of 2022, I traveled to the Omega Institute in New York to take a weeklong class and get my writing game reestablished. I felt like I was back at St. Philip Neri Catholic School with Mrs. Richards telling me to describe an apple in a paragraph on control paper. I learned that I don’t like people telling me how or what to write. It has to come organically for me.
- I worry too much. As Shel Silverstein said in his poem “The Whatifs”… Last night while I lay thinking here… some Whatifs crawled inside my ear. Worry solves nothing. I want to practice turning my worry into prayer and meditation.
- I miss riding my bike. When I’m on it it’s like flying. The world slows down and looks different to me. I like riding alone with my thoughts.
- Social media overwhelms me. Years ago, before Facebook and Instagram, I had a full-time job, wrote a column for both Presentation and Bellarmine’s Monthly Newsletter and kept up in my journal. Â Was its youth or was it the absence of social media? Of course this blog will go on Facebook. Â So I’ve also learned that I can be a hypocrite!
- I love yoga. It feeds my soul. It gives me time away from the riff raff of life. My mat is my magic carpet, and I am transported. I love my yoga community- The Morgan Hill Yoga Collective- and my new yoga companions on the journey. It connects me also with my son, Peter, who is a fellow yogi. Jenn, my favorite instructor, says “leave it on the mat”. I do. I leave my angst, my worry, my regrets and my discontent.
- Fr. Richard Rohr O.F.M. says this- The body cannot live without food. The soul cannot live without meaning. I’m in search of more soul in my life. Less social media. More yoga. More flying on my bike. More prayer and meditation. Less worry. More writing. More meaning. Fr. Rohr says that most of our politicians are soulless. How do you lead a country when you are soulless?
- And lastly, I miss God. I grew up Catholic. I married in the Catholic Church. I raised my sons Catholic. I cantered at Mass, attended bible studies, ran women’s groups and worked for 22 years at a Catholic High School. In 2022 I cut bait, retired, stopped going to Mass, and went cold turkey. As I was putting my Christmas decorations out last year I unwrapped Jesus, Mary and Joseph and wondered for the first time if it all really happened in a manger in the middle of winter. Â the star, the three wise men, and the whole shebang. I suddenly felt like someone had just told me that there was no Santa Claus all over again. I felt hollowed out and bereft.
I need the mystery. I need the unknowing. My life lessons have all hinged-on faith, hope and love. I need the ashes on Ash Wednesday. I need the meditation and the prayer. I need to let go of my worries. I need to write and do yoga. I need to feed my body with protein and feed my soul with meaning.
2024 holds for me a daunting challenge. What changes do I need to make in my life in order to consummate the lessons learned in 2023? What lessons will 2024 present?