Woke this first day of January to the bright singing of birds outside my bedroom window. “How fitting for robins to ring in the New Year!” I mused, passing over the crest of consciousness. Then realized the opening song of 2016 was actually the whistling of my nose.
It’s been a lovely holiday season this year. On Christmas Eve, I watched my oldest daughter’s engagement proposal unfold in my living room. He dropped to one knee declaring his love, asking for her hand. “Yes! yes!’ she nodded silently as he slipped the ring onto her finger. I sat there bawling, amazed and honored to be privy to this tender, hope filled moment. The next day, my oldest son, who’s been teaching English in Korea for nearly two years, arrived home for Christmas. We’ve talked via Facetime every week since he left on his grand adventure but nothing compares to that first warm moment of spotting each other in person. We returned from the airport to the best celebration ever; all five kids home, a new fiancée and boyfriend at the table for dinner, hilarity, flying wrapping paper, inevitable bugging. It was the stuff Christmas movies are made of, it still makes my nose whistle.
As usual, I’m opening the new year reflecting on the one past. Twenty fifteen saw us through many things, both wonderful and terrifying. I became a full-time student and went on an Art and Culture tour with my university to Berlin. The summer of 2015 was tumultuous with my oldest daughter’s health issue. How fortunate that we were near a world class PE and Thrombosis centre when she became ill. One of my sons survived a potentially fatal tractor accident on the golf course greens he maintained. My youngest daughter started her first full-time job, my oldest son renewed his teaching contract overseas, my youngest son is looking into studying abroad again. The pendulum never stops swinging. As they say, the only thing constant is change.
I’m not big on marking the new year with resolutions or defining words and yet find myself thinking on a few anyways. I think it was Charles Darwin who said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, but rather, that which is most adaptable to change.” Darwin of course, was referring to the evolution of species, but adaptability to change is equally important in our psychological lives. Buddhists call this ability to roll with the punches acceptance or non attachment. Call it what you want ~ I want it. I’ve also been thinking about emotional buoyancy. I thought I made up an awesome new term, but I just googled it and found this serendipitous quote:
Now that I’m in advanced middle-age [58 years old] I’ve discovered a certain buoyancy. Life weighs heavily upon one’s shoulders, but then you find that, with a certain kind of shrug, it will just lift off for a moment or two.
I’ve always liked Leonard’s gritty forthrightness. So in spite of myself, here I am with two words for 2016 ~ adaptability and buoyancy. Maybe I’ll change them to something else next week, or forget them altogether, but for now, I guess they’re as good as any.
Happy 2016. May your nose whistle and your spirit be buoyant.