Monday, January 05, 2015

Happy 2015 ~ my column from Sunday's paper

We had an early appointment today for Jilda’s last treatment of the year. I stood by the kitchen counter tapping my foot as the coffee pot dripped, as if my impatience would make it drip faster. It didn’t.

The chickens were still on the roost when I slipped in to pour some scratch feed into their troughs, freshen up their water and collect the eggs. They fussed, and I guess if I could translate the cackling, it would have been something unkind. They are ungrateful birds.

Soon we hit the road on our journey to Birmingham. The landscape outside our car windows looked as if Mother Nature had applied a light coat of chrome during the night.

One of the neighbors has a wood-burning fireplace and smoke laid across the hollow like a thin cotton blanket. It looked like a winter morning.

Once in the infusion room, I helped Jilda get situated in her big green chair. Tethered to dripping bags, she waved as I headed off to find my place in the back of the cafeteria. This is the last column of 2014, which will run the first Sunday in 2015.

If 2014 were water in a bathtub, it would be swirling around the drain and softly gurgling as it makes its way into our past.

I spend the last week of each year reflecting and projecting. Life this past year has been like a roller coaster. It was not without challenges, but there were times I did a little victory jig. But I’ve come to understand most years are like that, except the older I get, it seems the roller coaster moves a little faster.

Something I read this past summer talked about coping with the ups and downs of life. When a situation arises, you have a choice of whether to respond or react. There’s a huge difference.

When you respond, you weigh the pros and cons, make value judgments based on experience and education, then act based on what’s best for you and your family.

When you react, you often shoot from the hip without considering the consequences. Sometimes you hit the target, but sometimes you make a mess that takes valuable time and resources to fix.

I think people who are successful often respond more. This is a lesson worth learning.

Earlier in the year, Jilda and I celebrated our 40-year wedding anniversary. I consider making it 40 years without bloodshed a significant accomplishment. I’ve also read more than 30 books, and I got a new job that I love.

We’ve lost some close friends this year, which is always brutal, but having known them even for a little while enriched our lives.

When I look to the New Year, I smile. We are heading to Europe in late summer or early fall. We’re finally replacing Jilda’s old Volvo, Ingrid. We also scheduled some improvements to our home that’s languished on our to-do list for too long.

I’ll have a new book out later in the year, and we’ll be recording a new music project as well. I’m excited.

I think that’s what I love most about New Years. It’s full of hope and promise for those who choose to respond to the passing of time.

Happy New Year.


  1. Anonymous8:59 PM

    A very uplifting post!!

  2. You have a busy year planned Rick, that's great.. I can't wait to see pictures of you two when you travel to Europe this summer ;-)

  3. Reacting has gotten me in trouble, I need to try and learn responding.

  4. That was a lovely post, Rick. Thank you.

  5. Unfortunately I am a reactor. I try to respond but my impulsiveness often gets in the way. I like your idea of taking the last week of the year to reflect upon the previous year. I am adopting it and will try to plan a bit better in the future.

  6. When do you sleep? Lol. Sounds like an exciting year ahead for you both. :-)

  7. It sounds like you have a lot to look forward to in 2015. I look forward to reading all about your adventures.

  8. Sounds very good Rick.
    Certainly wish you and Jilda all the best in the coming year.
    Nice post.

  9. Responding is so much better than reacting...some of us learn that with age, but unfortunately some don't! I'm glad to hear you and Jilda have so much to look forward to this year...sounds great, so enjoy!

  10. A very productive year in review. All the Best in 2015.
    I love the respond much better than the react . A great thought to keep in mind.

    Congratulation on all your accomplishments.

  11. Happy Ney Year Rick, congrats on your fortieth last year!

  12. I hope you have a pretty amazing 2015, and share more wonderful posts with us during the year. 2014 saw Tim and I celebrate 30 years together and I have to be honest at times I think I should get a medal living with Tim is not easy


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