7 Things I Was Reminded Of In 2019

Today is the first day of 2020.

I’m sitting here thinking about the entire past year. So much happened everywhere it seems. I’ve heard several news broadcasters say things are happening so fast that it’s hard to keep up to date on news stories. I certainly seems like that.

pexels-photo-3401900.jpeg
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

2019 had its ups and downs; a challenging year. I had new territories to conquer.  Maybe it wasn’t as hard as it felt, but either way I was reminded of a few things along the way.

  1. Listen carefully when loved ones speak.

You know how the more familiar you are with something, the less you need to focus on it. I mean, the things you do, see, interact with on a regular basis require less attention to maintain. If you can walk, how much attention do you give to where exactly you place your feet and how your toes feel when they touch the ground? You just walk. If you are a typist, how much time do you spend analyzing each letter on the keyboard? You just know where they are, so your fingers just follow the words in your mind and fly across the keys.

I thought about this with my loved ones. It is so easy to become totally emotionally deaf when the people you are closest to attempt to tell you how they feel about something. Why? Because you assume you know them, you already know what they like, who they are, etc. I’ve learned that with the ones closest I must read between their words and emotional expressions. I must listen to not only their words, but also pay attention to the emotions behind the words. Sometimes words alone don’t tell the whole story. I learned this the hard way, early this year. I almost sabotaged a friendship by totally missing some cues. This friend tried to express her feelings in the best way she could…but I was clueless. Good news, we are still friends, but I admit I worked hard to restore it to some degree of normalcy because it was a friendship worth fighting for. I can easily see though how so many friendships end in despondency.

LESSON REMINDED: Not everyone is able to express themselves in a way that is palatable for me. If the relationship is worth keeping, I must step outside my comfort zone, or press a situation to barrel down to the core so the friendship can be salvaged and rebuilt.
  

  1. Loneliness is part of life, embrace it as much as you can.
person in black hoodie sitting on train bench
Photo by Steven Arenas on Pexels.com

Aloneness is a wonderful thing. Everyone should take moments out of life to be alone, sit, reflect, pray, regroup, or whatever. It is vital to understand yourself as much as you can first. That gap between who people perceive you to be and who your really are can trip you up. I’m not talking about that here. I’m talking about loneliness. I would guess, loneliness is a major factor in much of the depression and even despair seen in our culture.

People need people. You know now dogs are pack creatures, well, I think people are like that as well. You may not need to have someone else in your face day in and day out but at some point, you need the physical and emotional touch of others. Sadly, this is becoming more difficult to achieve in our society it seems. In our ‘selfie’ world, reaching out beyond oneself usually entails a backward facing camera on the end of a stick.

I spend a lot of time alone. It doesn’t bother me most of the time but there are times when I need to find my friends, I need the comfort of hugs from people who love me, and I need to know that they are accessible.

This year I thought about loneliness a lot. I was thinking about the people I know and was taken back by the number of them who are single people living alone. It made me sad. Not that these people are sad about their situations, it just made me sad that in our culture, this is becoming more of a norm. We promote an independent nature in our culture, but it looks like it has consequences.

 LESSON REMINDED: It only takes a couple seconds to send a text or email to someone to let them know you are thinking of them, and that you don’t want anything from them. You just wanted them to know they were on your mind. It is amazing how much this small act can redirect and brighten a person’s day. I have a very special sister friend, who calls me regularly. Most times its only to say, …”I didn’t want anything, just wanted to hear your voice.”. I hope you have people in your life like that. If not, message me.
  

  1. You see your parents aging but their Golden Years still sneaks up on you.

If you are a middle-aged person and are blessed to still have parents who are alive, then they are probably in their 70s, 80s or even 90s. As a kid, you enjoy your parents as young people; vibrant, working, living life. Then one day, you look up at you see two people

photo of elderly man walking on pavement
Photo by Immortal shots on Pexels.com

who step more gingerly, move more slowly, and think less clearly; they’ve become ‘old’. But wait! This can’t be MY parents, they are …. Yes, they have reached that season in life.

I saw it coming to. I was still not prepared. But a string of physical ailments, calendars filled with doctor’s appointment, Medicare literature filling their mailbox, knee pains, technology battles, and hospital stays reality set in and I realized they were elderly. I was literally slowly taking over things and becoming the person in charge. I never had children, so I was not used to being in charge of any one but myself. WAKE UP CALL!

LESSON REMINDED: As overwhelming and tiring as it can be sometimes, I don’t mind it at all. I told my parents I will do all I can for them as they age. They did all they knew to do for me as their child. It’s an honor for me, plus I know it pleases God and they are his children too.
  

  1. Old age is scary.

I have always had an affinity for senior citizens. I like to listen to their stories about the times in which they grew up, their perspective and wisdom in situation, their knowledge from experience, all of it. There is so much to be learned. Unfortunately, we all know that older folks are not revered as they should be in our society.

I’ve gotten to spend a lot of time with some terrific older people. Some were young when I met them and over the years, I’ve watched them age and others I met after they were well into their senior-hood.

In conversations with them I learned of some of their fears. One told me he doesn’t like to go out much anymore because he cannot defend himself anymore. Another told me he worries about being alone after years of living with a spouse. And, another said she fears losing her mind – dementia.

When you are young, you don’t think of these things much at all. You just go about your day doing your thing with no fear of not being about to fight, or run away, or not being able to remember common things. As I listened, yeah, old age seems scary.

I’ve had several opportunities to visit senior homes this year. I like to think that some of these older folks feel much better in a community of people in which they can interact. I don’t know; maybe it’s less scary to be scared with someone else.

LESSON REMINDED: Go visit a senior citizen as often as you can. If the senior citizen is a family or friend go twice as often as you can. Your presence is worth worth more than anything else you could bring.
 

  1. The moment of death is easy, but the process will certainly kill you.

Somehow, growing up, I escaped having to attend many funerals. I only remember going to one when I was about 10 for a Great-Aunt, then another Great-Aunt when I was in my 20’s. Then over the next few years I would hear of deaths of more distant family and people who were not that close to me in my life but didn’t attend most of the funerals.

But then, starting around early 2016,well into my adulthood, it seemed every few weeks, I’d hear of people who were nearer to my heart getting sick and passing away. I mean, numbers nearing 20! It sort of knocked me for a loop. I have attended more funerals in the past 2 years the I have in all my life. The last being just a couple weeks ago.

flowers marguerites destroyed dead

I’ve thought about death a lot lately. Not to be morbid, I’ve had friends die in numerous ways these past 3 years. It’s hard to both watch the process of dying and hard to suffer the sudden loss of a quick unexpected death.

It seems the moment between the last breath in this life and the first breath of the next life is the actual death. Short and easy. But I’ve witnessed how getting to that last breath can be long, painful, sad, stressful, scary, and everything else you can imagine.

LESSON REMINDED: I can only think of this poem when I recall the friends and family who have passed away.

 Only One Life
By C.T. Studd

Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last. 

Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,
And stand before His Judgement seat;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

 Only one life, the still small voice,
Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave,
And to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

 Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill,
living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last. 

When this bright world would tempt me sore,
When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way,
Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

 Give me Father, a purpose deep,
In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

 Oh let my love with fervor burn,
And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone,
Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

 Only one life, yes only one,
Now let me say,”Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call,
I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last. 

 

  1. It’s OK to let some friends drift away.

Remember when you were a kid and the most important thing in life was who your friends were … or weren’t. Those gatherings on the playgrounds could make or break your social status in the entire playground (and lunchroom) hierarchy.

a man rowing a small boat with a sail
Photo by Md Towhidul Islam on Pexels.com

I used to tell myself one of the best things about being an adult is that you don’t have to be friends with everyone. I thoroughly enjoy choosing friends. Fortunately, I make friends easily, but unfortunately, I had to learn that many of the people I meet and befriend are not meant to be in my life always; or not even for a long time. I have friends from when I was a teen-ager and I have friends I just met last month. These friendships are all at different stages and have different roles in my life.

Recently, I thought of a friend I had years ago; we had the best times together. I thought of looking her up on Facebook to see if she was still around the area. Then I stopped myself. At the time we hung out we were at the same place in life. Now, some years later, I’m sure our lives are different, and lots has changed. I decided to leave this on to God who is the best orchestrator and path-crosser if it’s meant to be. Letting a friendship go is not always a bad thing, sometimes, it’s a growing thing.

Friendships are worth the investment. You just have to determine which ones are worth your time and effort. I have friendships now that exist only because I keep them going. I’m OK with that because it helps me rank the friendship. Remember, I said, some different friends have different roles. Don’t get your feelings hurt when your ‘friend’ doesn’t invest the same time you put in. Take this as information for use in keeping your own world in perspective. Plus, just face it, you are probably on the fringes of a lot of your friend’s radar, and that’s OK.  Life is busy and hard and unless you are a key person, you are probably more likely not a friend, but ‘someone they know’. You’ve got all the Facebook ‘friends’ that you don’t even know! Not to sound cynical but I’ve learned the hard way…friendship is relative.

LESSON REMINDED: Sometimes it’s best to NOT rekindle old, dried-up forgotten friendships. Just remember the purpose they had at the time and enjoyment of the friendship, keep the good memories in your heart, then let it be. I say this because people and times change. When you were friends in the past it was time for that friendship, if it fizzled, then its time was up. If it’s meant to be, they will find you on Facebook. 😉
  

  1. Find things to look forward to.  

I’m one of these people who kind of thrives on change. I get bored easily, so I need things to change in my life on occasion. It doesn’t have to be anything major like moving, or a new job or anything like in the past but now as I get older, I like to just try new things. I’ve discovered some great things about myself in my quest for change. Five years ago, I discovered I have a knack for drawing portraits (www.facebook.com/portraitartbyjan). I always liked art but lacked skill. I guess it needed all my life to percolate. Haha. I still want to learn a new instrument, try ballroom dancing, and taking a cross country road trip.

white car traveling near trees during daytime

Change is good. It is needed. You learn the most about yourself when you are put in a position to change, you learn even more about yourself when you are forced to change. Frederick Douglas has a great a quote …

Inaction is followed by stagnation. Stagnation is followed by pestilence and
pestilence is followed by death.”

I’ve decided that I want to purchase a small RV and travel. With a remote job, this is quite possible. I have spent a year studying YouTube videos on van-types, solar panels, types of toilets, camping options, etc. It has been so much fun learning about it all. The other day I thought, … ‘this may never happen, but I am having a blast learning about it.’ More importantly, it gives me something to look forward to in life. We all need something to look forward to in life. That something if often tied to your purpose.

LESSON REMINDED: The opposite of moving forward and changing is not moving backwards, but stagnating. Life is in movement and growth, not always in body, but in mind, heart, and spirit.

 

May you have a blessed, prosperous, ever growing year of
peace, love, and joy in Jesus!

photo of fireworks
Photo by Anna-Louise on Pexels.com

Much Love to you, Jan!

🎆💛🎆💛🎆

Author: iamjanl

❤️ Artist, Writer, and other things

5 thoughts on “7 Things I Was Reminded Of In 2019”

  1. Jan! This is my favorite post you’ve ever written. Such wisdom and deep life truths here. You are a blessing to me. I’m riding home from a big family dinner with my mom and dad (yes I still have them and I’m 62)! I loved each of your seven lessons. Thank you friend. Even though I don’t get to see you often, I’m blessed by your life. Now I have a new friend who I enjoy so much. Your Mother! And she loves my garden. Come see me and get some fresh greens!
    Love,
    Jan

    Liked by 1 person

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