Looking Forward . . . .
Do you make resolutions? Why do people make resolutions? It just seems that they make them to break them.
As a new year moves on in our life, we have things we would like to change. Maybe in our personal life, weight loss, find a significant other, improve our relationship with someone, or it can be a career resolution, to find a new job, or work to get that much desired promotion. Maybe it’s our spiritual life, to read scripture more regularly, to help the unfortunate, to connect more with others of our faith, or to go to church more regularly.
I don’t like making promises I cannot keep. I like looking at my past year, seeing what worked great, and what needs some adjustment, then making goals to hopefully take my life to the next level.
This past year of 2017 has been full of surprises for me. I started the year with our annual trek to Florida. My husband has had a time-share in Panama City Beach, Florida, since the 1980’s. The first time he took me there, I was so excited about going to Florida, I packed all my summer clothes and was ready to go. I had been to Florida a few times, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Jupiter, and Orlando. What I didn’t know is that Panama City Beach is in the panhandle of Florida, and it can get cold there in the winter. Now I am prepared for the quiet week of slightly chilly / slightly warm weather the third week of January in Panama City Beach. What my sweet husband has done to make that trip a bit easier, is to add some weeks and take me farther south into the warmer parts of Florida. Last year, Panama City Beach was unusually warm, and we spent two full weeks there, and I was in heaven! This year we will spend one week there, the second week near Fort Lauderdale, and the third week in Orlando.
I had the opportunity to dip my toes back into the Human Resources field by doing some consulting. I wrote some employee handbooks, and traveled to Wisconsin to conduct diversity training. Writing handbooks is not just a simple task of copying an old handbook and adding the name. It entails a discussion with the principles on philosophy. We discuss benefits, and the purpose of them, how they are given, when they are given, and who pays for them and how. We talk about work rules, and how flexible the employer wants to be, and what to do if they are violated. I love this part of handbook development because it is eye opening for the management to realize, it’s just not a list of stuff they give or a list of rules they want. There needs to be reasoning behind it, and consistency and integrity.
As this past year moved on, we entertained many at our home. I think the highlight of entertaining this year was the Eclipse Party at our home last August. Many of my high school classmates along with some of our relatives attended this party. We celebrated birthdays, and in September, we celebrated my son’s marriage by hosting a wedding reception at our home. We also traveled to Indiana for a family wedding, and spent a week in Branson with my sister.
In early November we celebrated my mother-in-law’s 99th birthday. She is doing quite well, living in an assisted living home nearby us in Columbia, MO. She really enjoyed her day, and loved being the center of attention and the star for the day. Her celebration always makes me miss my mom, who would have turned 99 two weeks after her. Happy 99th birthday, Alberta!
We left the day after Thanksgiving for a three week trip that took us down to San Antonio for three days of sightseeing. Then we made our way through Texas, New Mexico, Arizona (where we visited with a high school friend who lives in Surprise—what a fun name for a city! “The city was founded in 1938 by Flora Mae Statler, who named it Surprise as she ‘would be surprised if the town ever amounted to much’.”) We drove on to Los Angeles and spent a couple days with a friend and former HR colleague. Of course, because I love connecting people, we did dinner with her and my 2nd cousin since they live just a mile apart. We always have such a lovely time when we all get together. Then we moved north of LA to Encino, where my youngest grandchild lives. We celebrated an early Christmas, and had so much fun getting to know Luke, and he getting to know us. We left LA the day the wild fires broke out, not because of the fires, it was the planned day to leave. We made our way back to the Phoenix, Arizona area where we spent a lot of time visiting with many of my 12 first cousins who live in the area. While we were there, we put a contract in on a house to be built so that next year we could become snowbirds!
We rounded out the year with Christmas and New Years celebrations with our families, in an easy-going relaxed manner—my kind of celebrating!
Now the new year is here. It is 2018. It is hard to believe we are 18 years into the new century! Do you remember 18 years ago, when we were going into 2000? How many of you worked at companies, where the IT personnel stayed overnight at work on New Years to make sure the computer system did not go down because of going into a new century, now having to use a 4-digit year, rather than two? Remember thinking that utilities would shut down, and banks would stop functioning? I worked at a credit union at the time, and everything rolled around just as it should. There was no shutdown in any infrastructure.
I have a big and busy year planned for 2018. In a few weeks we are going to go on our annual Florida trip, probably for the last time. Once we begin to be snowbirds in Arizona, there will be no need to warm up in Florida. Of course, I will miss the ocean, but if I recall, a five hour trip to Los Angeles to see my grandson will also give me access to an ocean.
Soon we will be going to Arizona to select our flooring, cabinets, and all other finishes for the new home. We will have to go back again in the summer to close on the house, and to begin to furnish it. When the year ends, we will be going there to spend the rest of the winter until late spring.
Another trip planned with be to Europe in May. Our main destination is Seligenstadt, Germany for the wedding reception for my son and his wife (the one we hosted last September). She is from Germany, and the wedding celebration with her family and friends will be this coming May. We are going to go to England for a week before we arrive in Germany. We will be there for almost two weeks, and will at some point, take the train to Paris to spend a couple days. I am sure this will be a trip of a lifetime. I have a passport, but have never used it—time to bush off the dust, and put it in my pocket!
I look forward to doing some HR consulting. Just dipping my toes in every so often keeps me informed of my chosen career, keeps me in touch with former colleagues, and allows me to still have a positive impact on the working world.
Most of all, my desire to stay connected to people will continue in 2018. The majority of my high school class turns 70 in this year, and we are planning a 70th Birthday Bash in the fall. Our high school class is pretty amazing. We love seeing each other, and connecting. We love sharing our lives today, rather than our memories of yesterday. We have become close to former classmates who we may not have even known back in our school days. I love this class of people—they do have class!
I plan to continue my knowledge of Christ, and grow more in my faith. I look forward to finding a “winter” church, and possibly join a “winter” small group. I love that my small group in Fulton likes meeting during the summer, so we will not lose their connection once we have become snowbirds. The only thing that will change in 2019 for this group, is finding a new home for the small group to meet.
I am grateful to God for all he has blessed me with this year, and I look forward to see what adventures and trials I may be facing in the coming year. Everything should be a learning opportunity. I wish for peace, joy, and contentment for all my family, friends, and those who read this blog. I am so grateful for you following my weekly writing. I hope I am inspiring you to become more thoughtful, loving, active, or whatever you wish to grow in your life.