The beginning of a new year brings new opportunities, new hope, and new dreams.  Before it comes take a moment to say goodbye to the year past.

Lately I’ve been thinking about the end of the year kind of like a funeral.  Not a depressing, tear-jerker funeral.  More like a New Orleans funeral.  One where you grieve the past, those you’ve lost and things that didn’t work out the way you’d hoped, but then you get on with the celebrating.

I think there’s healing in this process, regardless of what kind of year you’ve had.

Say goodbye.  Starting a new year without a friend or family member can be a difficult thing to do.  We lost 2 family members this year and they will be dearly missed.  It’s hard to comprehend that they won’t be a part of 2016, but I am grateful for the time I had with them both.

In this process of letting go of the old year, it’s important to think of ways to remember those who are no longer with us.  Maybe that means lighting a candle in church, or saying an extra prayer at night.  For some it might just be taking a second to feel their presence at family functions or special events.  They’re there, always.

Refresh your memory.  Each July I make an anniversary album for Mr. O and I.  It’s a great way to remember all those good times that were had.  Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the day-to-day that we forget those moments that made us smile, or laugh, or sing out loud.  If you keep a journal the end of the year is a good time to review it.

And if you don’t take pictures or keep a journal, pull out your planner and look at everything you did.  Of course, you’re not going to get excited reminiscing about your dentist appointment, but what about that great party your friend threw, or your kid’s dance recital?

Review what you’ve learned.  It’s nearly impossible to get through an entire 365 days without learning something.  Whether it’s a new skill or that horizontal stripes just don’t work on you, you’ve learned.  Celebrate that.  Maybe you’ve learned to be more patient.  Maybe you finally figured out how to balance your checkbook.  No new learning is wasted.

Be grateful. We are so blessed.  We live in a time and place when I can sit at my computer, type some words on a screen, and those words are shared with the world.  That’s amazing.

I am a woman who was provided a strong education.  I have access to some of the best medical care in the world.  I am blessed.

I live less than 5 miles from Target and several grocery stores.  We are not rich, but we have more than we need.

I have a fabulous family.  Near or far, wherever you are (just kidding), I know my family has got my back.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the bullshit.  Traffic.  Bills.  Lines.  Rude people.  Jackass millionaires who try to get rich off of sick people.  But when it comes down to it, we are blessed.

I will not be posting over the holidays – I am taking time to enjoy my family – so I’d like to wish each of you, whether you’re a loyal reader or a first timer, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The beginning of a new year brings new opportunities, new hope, and new dreams.  Before it comes take a moment to say goodbye to the year past.