Hello friends! It’s pretty hard to believe, but the time has come to say goodbye to another calendar year.
However, this one is different.
For the first time I can remember, I’m not bitter towards the year that’s about to end. 2015 wasn’t all that bad. Sure, it was a year of adjustment for me, along with everyone in my family, as we got through the first full year without my father or father in law. I did experience a good amount of work-related stress, which affected (and is still affecting) my Lupus and Fibromyalgia symptoms. There were some low points at times, times of frustration that made me want to bang my head against a wall.
But overall, 2015 was a pretty good year.
It marked the first year in a long time that I decided to celebrate my birthday and say YES to life.
It was the year my words finally broke free, as I began SoulSEAker, as well as a number of other writing projects.
It was the year that I made tons of memories with my niece and nephews: taking H to the aquarium and boardwalk three times, including once for the Sea of Lights; taking N to his first Six Flags experience and riding Skull Mountain 16 times in one day; taking E to Ron Jon’s in LBI for her birthday; taking N and E to Frightfest and to Holiday in the Park at Six Flags Great Adventure (and giving them season passes for 2016 for Christmas…perhaps I’ll conquer Nitro after all in 2016…after all, I got N to conquer Batman the Ride); and taking N and E on “Operation Christmas Tree Hunt 2015,” where I mapped out Christmas trees in local businesses, and we went into each business and took a picture with the tree…grand total: 50 trees in 3 hours, and a successful mission for Agent 101, Agent 202, and Agent 303. Fireworks cruises, going to Target and the Comic Book store, going to the park, and more. I hope that E, N, H, and I, the 4 most special people in my life, know how much I love them. I’m a very lucky Auntie.
Instead of being a homebody, I got out there in 2015 and saw a number of pretty awesome places, many for the first time ever, with cherished friends and family: Flatiron Building & Strand Bookstore in New York City, Yankee Stadium (2 games!), Lucy the Elephant, Absecon Lighthouse, Strawberry Fields in Central Park, Columbia University Campus, New Jersey Vietnam Memorial and Museum, Monmouth Battlefield, many old cemeteries as I researched for an article I wrote, Mastoris, Tom’s Restaurant (the diner from Seinfeld), Walnford Park, Heritage Park in Allentown (NJ), Six Flags Great Adventure (4 times!), the boardwalk and aquarium right here in town, Cape May, Times Square/Rockefeller Center, Long Beach Island, Atlantic City Aquarium, Cattus Island Park, Hot Dog Johnny’s, Asbury Festhaus and Biergarten. In addition, a 5-day clandestine getaway to Disney in November was a very special time with my husband. We put ourselves first for once, and I’m so glad we did.
Besides the Disney trip, my favorite memory was seeing “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens” with my brother on opening night, which was Thursday 12/17/2015. From getting on line 2 hours early with my Boba Fett sweatshirt on, to sitting in the theater for more than 90 minutes just filled with excitement and anticipation (as was every other person there), to shared laughs and gasps, applause and tears, it was one of the most memorable experiences in my life. Growing up “Star Wars” together, I couldn’t think of a better person to share the experience with than my brother. I’m seeing it again today, and again in January with work friends…and probably a few more times after that!
2015 was the year I finally found my “direction.” Direction was my word for the year, and I felt completely lost in early January of 2015. But I am not lost any more. It feels good to be on the right path and know I am worthy and I have a purpose…finally.
Deciding to live during my 44th year is the best decision I ever made. I still have a few goals to cross off my original list, which you can see here, but I still have a little over a month until I am no longer 44. Living 44 was my first writing focus that I shared as a blog, and was the precursor to SoulSEAker.
I am grateful for all of the wonderful gifts that 2015 gave me, most of all stronger bonds with my family and friends. I am also proud that I finally found the gumption to put my health conditions and symptoms at the forefront of every decision I make. I’ve learned that it’s okay to say NO and to decide my course of action based upon MY health, not based upon the agenda of others.
I recently saw a post that read, “I’m not the same person I was when 2015 began.” That’s true for me, and I am relieved to (for once) be facing a new year with positivity and optimism, versus sadness and dread.
I also have been seeing snarky posts on social media mocking the idea of becoming a better person with the new year. Mock me all you want, but I am DETERMINED to become a better person simply by choosing to live and by accomplishing the goals I have set for 2016 (which I will write about tomorrow). I can take your jabs and your insults, and if you feel better about yourself by making fun of me, go right ahead. I am glad I can help improve your self esteem. Not being snarky here…seriously. I am glad I could help.
What is your favorite memory from 2015? I’d love to know! Please share in the comments section.