I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bringing the year to a close

When I was a little girl, the progression of one year to the next seemed incredibly long. Each of the four seasons was filled with enough adventure and change that I would be thrilled to have another new year's eve come along. Norma Jean and I would beg to stay up until the year changed over, banging pots and pans to celebrate. Truth be told, I don't remember many years that we actually made it all the way to midnight. But I do remember a few, and the sound of us banging wooden spoons against our pans reverberate in my memory right into this early morning, one of the last of 2012 before the calendar begins yet another year. Amazing these days, how quickly the years pass. It seems just last week that I said goodbye to 2011 and began 2012.

It was a year ago that I was still mourning the theft of my purse on Christmas Eve. It's amazing how devastating it was, as I look back a year later. The car window was smashed, so I couldn't drive my car until it was fixed, and since it happened during the holidays it was a while before it could be fixed. My credit cards, wallet, driver's license, all needed to be replaced, so it wasn't until long after the event that I was able to resume my normal life. I did spend some time wondering what kind of thieves were hanging around the Lake Padden parking lot early on the morning of Christmas Eve. Considering the speed with which they managed to use my credit cards, I figured they had done this before. Today I don't consolidate all my cards and license in one place but carry the important stuff in my back pocket. I notice that I will often reach for it, patting the slim wallet to reassure myself that all is well.

One very useful part of keeping a blog is looking back to see what actually happened a year ago, what was on my mind, what I wrote about. I just checked to see what I found blogworthy and find that I was patting myself on the back for keeping the extra weight off that I had gained during 2010. I had quite the wake-up call in January 2011 when I realized I had gained ten pounds in one year, without thinking about it. I knew I had been avoiding the scales and that my clothes no longer fit; it was then that I began to use a calorie counter, only to learn that I was just eating too many calories. Not enough to make a noticeable difference day to day, but I determined to lose the weight and started keeping track. Just the act of recording everything I ate was enough to make me realize that it wouldn't take much of a change to lose the weight. It's been two years now, and I have managed to keep the majority of it off. It certainly helps to avoid wheat and refined sugar, since those two ingredients seem to be responsible for much of my mindless eating.

We were also blessed this past year with a beautiful summer filled with lots of blue skies, so I enjoyed the outdoors with my Senior Trailblazers every Thursday, hiking anywhere from seven to ten miles. Our winter hikes around town are not as long or quite as satisfying, but we still go out every Thursday. I love those guys; they are part of my life now.

I also got to spend one day of almost every summer and early fall weekend at the Drop Zone in Snohomish, making many more skydives than usual before the rain started. A year ago I thought that the summer season of 2012 would be the last season I would spend playing in the air, but I can tell that I'm not ready to give up that activity quite yet. Maybe this time next year I'll have had my fill. My skydiving gear is beginning to get old; my harness and container system was created in 2000 and has been used quite a lot in those twelve years. My body is beginning to get all creaky and old, too, but when I began skydiving at the age of 47, I never ever believed I would still be an active skydiver at 70! Well, not quite: I haven't made a skydive since my birthday, but in this part of the country skydiving tends to be seasonal. I'm looking forward to my first skydive as a septuagenarian.

One thing that I notice as the years pass is that I am able to appreciate and be grateful for each day, each month and year that goes by with my life partner, and with my family members who are so much more present in my life because of the advances in technology. Between my smartphone and my laptop, I don't have to feel separated from my loved ones because of distance. We talk "in person" often, text, and share pictures in ways I could never have imagined a decade ago.

I also know that all of this contentment can change in the blink of an eye. So I am filled with gratitude because as I bring 2012 to a close, I can look back and say that it was a good year, a very good year.


Linda Reeder said...

You have had a good year. There were also all those farmers markets, morning coffees, Saturday walks, and your big trip to Texas.
Like you, I find myself counting my blessings a lot these days. I have a beautiful life. I need to work on losing the nearly ten pounds that have crept back on as a result of two holiday seasons since I lost lots of weight. I will start again in the new year. It will be a lifelong battle,but I intend to remain at a healthy weight for the rest of my life.
Happy New Year. 2013 already. Wasn't it just a short time ago we were making a big deal out of 2000?

Red said...

Yes , the time ticks by much faster when we're older. At least, that's what Toffler told me!
Interesting to look back on a year's posts. I never thought of that.
Yes, we are blest. Yes, you make a good point that it could all change in a heart beat.
Have a fun New Yer's Eve and get out those spoons and pots and raise hell.

Rubye Jack said...

I remember when your car was broken into and all the walks and beautiful hikes DJan. The coffee shop and the bus rides to go exercise. I feel like I know you fairly well. It takes a confident person to share one's self openly and your blog is the perfect example of sharing with dignity. You have definitely all my respect for how you have chosen to lead your life. And best wishes for many many more stories.

Anonymous said...

It's nice to have such pleasant memories and you seem to have many. Good for you! Not many of us do. I think it is your positive outlook that makes you feel so young with a can-do spirit. However, if I were you, I'd stop jumping out of planes. Quit now while you are ahead. Lol. But of course, what do I know about such things?!

Meryl Baer said...

Time does seem to go faster and faster as we age and get all jumbled together. Your activity level is amazing and you are an inspiration.
A Very Happy New Year!

Linda Myers said...

Yes, it has been a very good year. I especially remember a fabulous weekend on Vashon Island with five fellow bloggers.

Rian said...

DJan, 'looking back' on previous blogs is one of my favorite things to do. And it's odd, but I can go back over 10 years and notice that I have 'cycles' or 'phases' where I tend to do the same thing (whether my interest turns at that point to reading,writing, knitting, traveling, or 'whatever'). So returning to old web sites or blogs can be a learning experience.

Sharing your life is also a learning experience. So thank you DJan, for sharing yours.

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

You are a wonder and an inspiration, and I'm glad you've had a really good year. I look forward to another good year of being blog friends with you.

Ann Summerville said...

Sorry to hear about the theft. I know when someone broke into my office, it left me uneasy for a long time. Amazing that you like to skydive at any age. It's something I've never attempted. Hope your year is wonderful.

Jackie said...

It seems like just a little while ago that I was reading about the break in of your vehicle and the theft of your purse. I can hardly believe it's been a year ago.
Congratulations on keeping your weight goal on track. I'm very proud of you; that's an accomplishment that is hard to attain...and maintain.
Happy New Year to you, my blogging friend.
Hugs from Jackie

Arkansas Patti said...

Doesn't seem possible it has been a year since the break in. I am stunned how time picks up an almost dizzying speed on the down hill part of life. If it had only gone this fast when we were impatiently awaiting the magic of 16 years for that coveted driver's license. Guess to slow time, we need to anticipate a goal. I will work on that.You all ready have.
Wishing you a happy, healthy, and interesing 2013.

Sandi said...

Hi DJan! I have been so out of the loop for so long, it was great to catch up while reading this post! It does seem like it's been a wonderful year for you, and you have much to look forward to in the coming years!

Gigi said...

I also remember time moving MUCH slower when I was small....now the years just seem to fly by! Happy New Year, DJan. I hope it brings you nothing but happy things.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Happy New Year my friend! You are an inspiration..and I hope someone makes a big deal out of your first skydive when you are 70..a cake or something..and a photo..:)

Deb Shucka said...

What a lovely reflection this is. I think if we can stay focused on the gifts, if we can stay grateful no matter what, the storms are easier to weather. One of my favorite things of this last year was the time we got to spend together in the magical sunshine of Vashon. May 2013 be full of more love and adventure than you can imagine.

Mary said...

I admire a person even THINKING about sky diving. Wow. And congratulations on keeping the lost weight off for a year. Thinking of carrying cards, etc. in a back pocket...I do the same. I started this once when I had a BAD fall and could not bear the weight of a purse. It was so freeing not to carry a purse that I never went back to it. Wishing you a happy new year.

Trish said...

I remember your post about the stolen purse. After I read it, I started backing up my ipad and keep the location button on!

Sally Wessely said...

Dear, dear Jan, it has been a wonderful year, but you are right, it went by way too fast! I can't believe it has been a year since your break-in. I think of you when I go to the dog park or any other walking space. I don't leave a purse in the car. I don't need that grief if it can be avoided.

One of the great highlights of the year was meeting you on Vashon Island. You remain an inspiration in so many ways. Here's to 2013!

Rita said...

Yes, it was a very, very good year!! You're so right about not feeling as isolated by distance in these new cyberspace times...and I don't even Skype--LOL! But it went by very quickly. 2013--here we come!! ;)

CrazyCris said...

Happy New Year!

I think you have had a good year, and I imagine you skydiving and hiking for quite a few more...

Time sure does seem to fly by a lot faster than when I was a kid...