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2016, Going Within to Begin Again

Live Like You Can

By Janis McDonald

Another year has swept by seemingly as fast as a meteor racing across the evening sky. It feels like only a few months ago that 2015 arrived, feeling so bright, shiny, and clean, giving me another 365 days in which to create, live, and adventure. I find myself wanting to take a look back before jumping across that midnight deadline to the coming year to see what worked and what didn’t as I continue down the path of self-examination and growth.

Willa Cather, one of my favorite writers from the early l900s wrote, “People live through such pain only once. Pain comes again—but it finds a tougher surface.” My own interpretation of these lines might be, “When hard times return as they always do, they will find a more resilient place to land.” During the last year, I have experienced some hard times, and the good news is these times no longer linger as they did in my youth. Is resiliency just one of the many gifts of growing older? For most, I believe it is indeed another powerful tool that is added to the toolbox of older life.

This year of journaling without judgment has proven to be a most enlightening path. Pen to paper, minimum of three pages, finished first thing in the morning (The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron) and performed consistently has helped me work through my thoughts to reveal what is really most important for me to remember in each situation. Now I am wondering if the next correct step would be to burn those pages on New Year’s Eve and start fresh. On the other side of the coin, maybe it would be wiser to save them, documenting my journey of change each year. What to choose? If I am honest with myself, I know that going back to re-read them isn’t going to happen, so it’s into the fire they will go along with saying goodbye to 2015.

Keeping a daily small gratitude journal has been another of my (mostly) successful commitments. While most entries are well thought out, when I am tired, I tend to fall back on my default entry, “I am grateful for my life.” Still it always works to reset my attitude particularly on the days that I have to dig very deep to get beyond the problems of the moment.

Lastly, I committed to read Sarah Ban Breathnach’s Simple Abundance Daybook of Comfort and Joy, written for each day of the year. While many suggestions were too laborious to follow immediately, I found the common thread of self-nurturance throughout her book, urging the reader to never stop looking for the authentic self in each day and giving many ideas to enhance that discovery. Some of her suggestions were put on the back burner of my life, to let simmer until when or if life gives me the signal to get that pot boiling. When I think about 2015 and what gifts I have been given, I feel the most important takeaways have been learning more patience and becoming more resilient. I wonder what this New Year of 2016 will bring to my life!

Janis McDonald, Boomer and Beyond Functional Fitness Trainer, private gym for Seniors, Boomer Plus Fitness small group training with Joe Hernandez. Follow Janis’ Blog,


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