|It was a frosty New Year’s Day on the river.|
In fact I’d describe my first day of the year as anything but brisk. Instead it was quiet, languid. Over-full of good food, stuffed with last week’s turkey, in all its myriad shapes and forms. Will we never finish the darned thing? We’ve eaten turkey, then turkey leftovers, then we made a new concoction with the leftovers, then had leftover leftover concoction. That turkey is like the Dogpatch ham, as my mum used to say when a certain dish seemed to last forever. Yep, I’m full of turkey, and stuffing, and gravy, and shortbread, and the delicious chocolates that Brenda Coffee from 1010 Park Place sent me (thanks Brenda), and of course, last night’s lovely seafood risotto which Hubby and I made for our New Year’s Eve feast. As DA Wolf said in her New Year’s post “what was I thinking?” And as a result of my overindulgence, today I’m feeling lazy, and even a bit slothful.
|2018 the year in review.|
So what of 2018, that old year which started last January with our renovation, and lots of dust, drilling, and upheaval, and ended last night with a surfeit of cold white wine, seafood risotto, and old episodes of Midsummer Mysteries on TV? Well, I didn’t travel as much in 2018 as in 2017. In fact, 2018 saw me housebound for much of the summer due to shingles. I spent a lot of July and August in my jammies dreaming of Italy. And even though Italy was not the most wonderful trip we’ve been on, it was still pretty wonderful. One thing I learned this year: even slightly fraught, and (at times) disappointing travel is better than no travel at all.
Last year at this time, I was pondering the nature of friendship, and I guess I’m still doing that. Just in a different way. This year I said good-bye to my dear friend Barbara. I’ll miss her. That’s her standing beside me in the picture, below, from June 1997. I’d just given the good-bye speech at the retirement dinner of my friend Rennie, and at the end of my speech, I was joined by these four ladies. We sang the song with which Carol Burnett ended her television show every week for years. “I’m so glad we had this time together….” For those who don’t remember the show, at the end of the song, as she said goodnight to the audience, Burnett pulled her earlobe, which was apparently a special signal to her grandmother. That’s what we’re doing in the photo, as we ended our song, and said good-bye to Rennie. I smiled when I unearthed this photo the other day, at how appropriate that song seems again.
|Marylou, Peggy, Joanne, Barb, and me singing “I’m so glad we had his time together.”|
I thought how truly glad I am that Barb and I had our time together. And what I learned from her. When she and I first met she had been out of the classroom for several years, and even though I was much younger, I had more recent experience teaching English. So I taught her about new curriculum, and she taught me about life. I used to tease her that she taught me how to be “a woman of a certain age.” Barb was a wonderful teacher, a wife, mother, and lately a doting grandmother, but she never lost sight of who she was in her own right. She taught me that we don’t necessarily have to lose sight of our own needs, even while we’re attending to everyone else’s. That’s a pretty important life lesson, I think. One I’ve been thinking of today.
Last year at this time I had a whole list of lessons I’d learned; the writing of my post on what I learned in 2017 was a catharsis in itself. This year, I’m not so clear on what I’ve learned because 2018 was, in some ways, a year of treading water, of recovering from 2017, you might say. But also because when a new year dawns, we don’t wipe the slate clean and begin all over again with brand new lessons. It’s not like starting a new school semester, with new courses, and a fresh page in our notebook. What I learned in 2018 was merely a continuation, an affirmation, of the things I learned in 2017, or I should say the things I began to learn.
And today, as I’ve been languidly reading Barbara Pym, eating one last (and I do mean last) turkey sandwich for lunch, pedalling my exercise bike, and writing this post, I’ve had a whole wack of ideas rolling around in my brain. Ideas of how I might move forward, of how I might make 2019 a good year, a moving forward year, not a treading water year. Some are only tiny glimmers of ideas yet, just beginning to flicker in the very back of my brain. I’ll have to wait for a bit to see what they become. As one wise university professor said to me, sometimes deadlines and inspiration do not work together.
So today, the thought of leaping into January, briskly clapping my hands, and then committing to paper my goals and how to achieve them makes me roll my eyes. Today I’ve been too busy processing 2018, too busy thinking, and meandering.
Next week. Next week, I’m sure I’ll be ready for leaping and maybe even some galloping.
|Looking out to sea from the terrace of our B&B in Agerola, Italy.|
What about you my friends? Any lessons you learned in 2018, that you want to share with us? Plans for 2019? Or are you like me, not quite ready for the planning stage yet?