Enjoying New Year's 2011 celebrations with my lovely niece, Louisville, KY, USA
New Year's 2012 with my best friend, hubby and travel partner, Seattle, USA
We visited an old friend in Austin this year and one of the things that that struck me was that her mother, an amazing, courageous woman who had reached her 85th birthday, had lately been feeling depressed. Despite an incredible adventure-filled life that included escaping an abusive marriage, shepherding four tiny children out of Cuba in the 1950s, learning a strange foreign language and beginning a new life in the United States with next to nothing in assets, traveling to every continent on earth except Antarctica (which she was still planning on visiting), starting her own business, and dating men 20 years younger than herself, she had somehow arrived at the conclusion that she had accomplished nothing in her life. Kindly, her daughters had put together a slide show of all the important moments in her life to remind her of just how incredible it had all been, including the comical side of the many failures. They braced themselves for how she would receive it, but were pleasantly surprised when she embraced it. We all need reminding sometimes of what amazing lives we've lead. mile emoticon
New Year's Eve 2004, Hong Kong (photo by Simone Cannon)
We all reach the point of questioning what we have accomplished in our life. There are so many things that we want to do, but as our 50th or 60th or 70th birthday approaches, we fear that we are running out of time. On our travels, we've been lucky enough to meet many senior citizens, still vital, adventurous and making future plans. The happiest ones understand that the decisions, right or wrong, that they made in their lives were the best ones that they could have made at the time and that a life without regrets and mistakes isn't a life fully lived. They have a robust sense of humor, healthy social connections and an optimism that is encouraging and inspiring. Despite their advancing years and sometimes declining health, they continue to add texture to their tapestries for as long as they can. Here's wishing everyone bright new threads in the coming year.