No Regrets – Year End Wrap Up

Time to close out old business, and tackle the blank sheet of paper that is 2016. A year ago, i launched a plan to keep myself focused on three areas of my life that might lead to regrets if i don’t pay attention:

Bridges – getting broken relationships in order…

Ducks – getting my affairs in order…

Vessel – getting my body in order…

Posting quarterly updates here has helpful in keeping me on track. After a solid start in the first quarter, i stumbled and splattered a bit in the second quarter. Fearing disaster, i regrouped in the third quarter.  As i hit the homestretch, i was able to maintain focus, despite eating like a garbage disposal, and drinking without restraint for the past three weeks.

Here’s my summary regarding “No Regrets” for the quarter, as well as thoughts on the year.

Bridges: Watching Mom die, i realized that one of the things keeping her from a peaceful departure were several unresolved issues in important relationships in her life – my brother being at the top of the list. Unlike my father, who told me from his deathbed that he had no unfinished business…

i had good luck reconnecting with some of the wonderful people who have wandered off, or i’ve lost touch with through the years. That part wasn’t hard – just jumping on an opportunity presented, or tackling someone in the aisle of a grocery store. Follow up, phone calls, e-mails, and lunch dates…

But there were bigger, smellier demons here. i have slammed a few doors in my time. Unresolved issues, discarded, buried and burned. People who would crowd my thoughts when drifting off to sleep. Over the course of the year, i was able to reconnect with one of them. Conversations have happened… i even sent him here and explained that he was one of my demons! i count this as a win…

There was another demon. i started off with an e-mailed birthday wish in January, after a couple of years of silence. Polite, surprised, response. Follow up e-mails… short, polite, discussion of our shared passion for things with engines and wheels… Each volley would end on his side of the court.

i was working on that bridge, one or two boards at a time. He was on the other side of the chasm, methodically disassembling the refreshed structure. Sometimes? The person on the other side of the fractured relationship needs to maintain the divide. Whatever narrative he’s crafted, whatever means of processing what happened between us? It’s important to him to let it be over.

And so i shall leave him be… and accept that this demon is probably coming with me…

Ducks: My office is still a disaster area, cluttered with shrapnel from Mom’s estate, as well as my own crap. We got through most of the large stuff in the rented storage locker with the rest of Mom’s belongings. My niece had a yard sale, and liquidated it all – anything unsold went to charity. Photos, memorabilia remains, and we’re planning another work day to get through that…

Did NOT update my will, but have a plan for what will be done, and discussed it with my children. Had a call from my favorite attorney, Ken (Mom’s lawyer) and we’re planning to go out to dinner soon. i will likely retain him as my own attorney, and have him work estate details for me. There’s still lots to do here… but i made some progress in the first three quarters, so there’s that.

The unexpected win in this category? A new project, launched with the assistance of a young man recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The son of a friend, he was looking for ideas for a home-based business. i mentioned that i would love to find someone to scan in the stacks of family photos cluttering up my basement. So i hired him, offering myself as a test customer, allowing him as much time as needed to tackle the project, develop strategies and methods, and get up to speed…

For Christmas this year, i was able to deliver two flash memory drives with several years worth of photos to both of my children. i gave them their childhood… or at least part of it. Gave one to my ex-husband, too. The project continues, and may eventually expand to some of the family history photos we excavate from Mom’s archives. Starting this project is an important, non-financial part of getting my ducks in a row, and i’m happy with how the year ended.

Vessel: Fuck, this is hard! Continued progress, stepped up workouts, and location of muscles i’d forgotten i had! i am stronger at the end of this 12 months than i was when the year started. i am 25 pounds lighter, and my heart is healthier. Perhaps most importantly, i have worked fitness into my daily routine, and maintained the habit. Now, if i could stop bashing the sweets and bread and cheese and chocolate and…

beads

Here’s to a clean slate, a new year, and a fresh start! Wishing you health, peace and clarity of mind as you tackle your own demons. i’ve got a plan for 2016, and will get my thoughts organized on that over the next week or two. And one item on that list? Catch up on my reader! i miss you guys!

 

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24 thoughts on “No Regrets – Year End Wrap Up

  1. Well done on a good year. Mine wasn’t so productive to be honest and ended in a downward position – my illness being a real drain there.
    Regarding broken relationships – I have an old friend, who was a close friend. I know now looking back that he actually considered me a mentor and sort of role model. Sadly I really badly let him down over something. He kept that uppermost in his heart and it cost him a lot more than me in the long run I think. I tried about a year ago when opportunity meant I saw him sat on a train I was about to embark. I offered a heart felt and sincere apology – he wasn’t prepared to listen or accept it. The anger in his eyes and on his face hurt me. But frankly most of that is actually how he has dealt with the last dozen years or so and not the directly the acts I did or didn’t do back then. I’m sad for him that he is so wrapped up in it still – but then I have to simply let him be… if he ever contacted me however I’d be there in a shot very willing to shake his hand, take his admonishment, tell him how on reflection I’m so very sorry but can’t undo what happened and wish him health, wealth and happiness for the rest of his days. Sadly I do not believe he’ll ever be ready for that day

    Good luck in 2016!!!

    • One of the worst feelings in the world is knowing you’ve let someone down… and it’s absolutely crushing if it is someone you love. I know that feeling. It’s sad that your friend still carries the anger, despite your acknowledgement and apology. There simply isn’t anything more you can do than that. He is processing his life his own way, and you are right – he may never be able to accept and move onward. Very sad…

      i am optimistic that this month will get me back to my reader, and i plan to catch up on your posts soon! Sorry to hear you haven’t been well, but hoping it’s temporary, and that the rest of the year improves.

    • Hey there! Don’t know why, but this comment was lost in my spam folder! Happy to see you again, my dear! Being mindful – and being careful what we ask for, and strive for? A good plan! Hoping you had a good holiday, and here’s to a grand year ahead!

  2. I agree, sometimes the demons don’t want to connect. The fact you did connect and let the other person make their choice means you can let that demon go.
    Paper, paper, paper! When someone dies, it is unbelievable how much friggin’ paperwork there is! I love the idea of having pic’s scanned and given out as gifts, I tried that route with mine and still had a battle on my hands at the end of “I want the original” “no I should have the original” I finally threw my hands in the air, took any pic with me in it and passed the box on with the instructions, fight amongst yourselves, I’m out!.
    Kudos on the health, pretty impressive in my books considering what you do do as fun. I’d be scared to death to scuba, mind you, I have no problem being on high seas in a storm enjoying natures roller coaster ride and regularly ride out in the Atlantic ocean.
    My only advice would be to not put off the will thing another day.
    I’ll leave with this poem,

    “The clock of life is wound but once,
    And no man has the power
    To tell just when the hands will stop
    At late or early hour.

    To lose one’s wealth is sad indeed,
    To lose one’s health is more,
    To lose one’s soul is such a loss
    That no man can restore.

    The present only is our own,
    So live, love, toil with a will,
    Place no faith in “Tomorrow,”
    For the Clock may then be still.”

    ― Robert H. Smith

    • There’s always the option of writing “The Letter” – which would likely make me feel momentarily better, but would perhaps wreck his day, and leave him battling demons he may have carefully wrestled into submission. i will simply never know… So it goes…

      Can’t imagine family fighting over original photos! Good grief! We are kicking the can around, trying to decide who HAS to keep them in storage! You handled it well… Oy… people… or more accurately, families!

      Agree that i need to re-do the will. i have one, it has both of my children as co-executors. This is a logistical nightmare for them – especially given that one lives overseas, and the other is in the Army! i am planning to have someone local named for this task, with the children still as beneficiaries. With all major assets going directly to them upon my death, the executor will have to sell my property – neither kids wants it – and distribute the proceeds. But i need to do it, because that pesky clock? Unreliable… and random…

      Here’s to a good year of health and comfort for you in the year ahead! Hoping the paperwork and squabbles are behind you!

  3. Sometimes you just have to let go and move on without being able to make amends. I learned that lesson a long time ago. I no longer see it as a demon or regret, just a part of living life as the non-perfect human I am.
    I wouldn’t put off the will for much longer …. we’re never promised tomorrow. 🙂
    Congrats on the improved health! I myself had a banner year in that aspect of my life …. 70lbs lost since Aug 2014.

    I wish you continued success, peace, joy, happiness, fun and love for the year.
    Oh, and lots more adventures! 🙂
    xoxoxoxo

    • You’ve had a great year, m’lady! I’m inspired! Although weight loss isn’t the primary goal (who am I kidding?), I’m targeting another 45 pounds before I’m done. Have thought that it might take 2 years, but seeing your hard work… I know it’s possible.

      Yes, letting go and moving on. Sounds easy, but sometimes requires deliberate effort.

      Here’s hoping you have a spectacular year ahead! ❤

  4. Yay for your year.
    And yay for your ‘new project’. That one is (of course) very dear to me. Love that you are giving him the time, and focussing on his abilities. Which will allow him to as well.
    Some of my demons are dead. Literally and (finally) metaphorically.
    The rest is work in progress.

    • He’s a lovely, and very young, man! He’s working, going to school, and really wants to be able to keep working as the MS makes his life more challenging. A true “win-win” for us both. There will be no shortage of customers – starting with the immediate circle of friends.

      Glad you’ve slain a few demons… I think one of my goals for the future is to not birth any more of the damn things! Pesky and tenacious, they are! Here’s hoping you have a good year ahead of you! Will get to your blog soon for a catch up!

  5. I did make a will, several years ago, but think I need to review it (can’t remember exactly what’s in it!) and make changes.
    And there are now more personal endings that require the physical disposal of paper stuff and the sadness of consigning people to the Attic of Memory.Comes with my age bracket, i guess!

    Onward!

    • Onward, indeed! This remains the most powerful word in my vocabulary! I just need to be more mindful of leaving wreckage behind me that i’ll have to go back and clean up later!

      “…consigning people to the Attic of Memory”. Yes. This.

      I just need to keep it organized and tidy so they don’t start bickering amongst themselves!

      Cheers to a good year ahead for you, Ms. D!

  6. That whole take on unfinished business is pretty good advice for the living. Thanks for sharing that. ‘Conversations have happened…’ is very cryptic. Would any of those conversations make for good blog fodder? Happy New Year to you. Hope you’re able to swing through town in 2016. Who’s turn is it to buy?

    • “Would any of those conversations make for good blog fodder?”

      Ha! You wish! Not so long as my children read my blog, buddy! A complicated tale, best told over a cocktail. I think it’s my turn to buy, but if you can’t remember, i’ll let you…

      Not sure i’ll get back to NYC this year, but could happen on short notice. A glorious place for a long weekend on the town.

      Wishing you a year filled with adventure, fame and fortune! That you are drowning in family and love! Oh, and perhaps a mid-life crisis for your dog, so he stops being an asshole and giving all other dogs a bum rap…

  7. Diet and exercise is a bitch. Been there. Done that. The real lesson to be learned is to not consider it a diet or exercise plan; it’s lifestyle. It’s not your diet, it’s what you eat. It’s not what you have to do, it’s what you do.
    If that makes sense, the hard part is over.

    • Good to see you, wigsf! Completely understand this – with exercise, it is part of my life without question. i feel terrible if i am inactive for more than a day, and i look forward to working out… at least most of the time, because i KNOW that i will feel better when i’m done. The relationship with food is taking longer. i know how it works, and i know that the choices are all mine. i also know that i feel better when i eat real food. i just enjoy the hell out of potatoes, and kiddie candy and beer and freshly baked bread and… i have to manage it better.

      Hoping you had a great year, and wishing you wonder in the new year!

  8. Thanks for stopping by my blog on catch-up rounds. Blogging has slowed for me (many others too it seems) this past year. I noticed your 3 category titles all involve water. over, on and rolling off your back.

    • Not sure about other folks out here, but the things that drove me to blog – sorting out the vexing relationship i had with my mother, and the rest of my family – are no longer compelling… i am driven to write when i’m sorting out complex issues in my head, and need to organize my thoughts. Right now? Life is good, i’m active and have good balance in my world – although i could use more sleep, and i’m looking forward to getting back 40 hours a week when i retire!

      You caught the water connection! i hope to be spending more time in and on the water this year, as i did last year – diving, regattas, a cruise, a beach wedding… We are all naturally drawn to water. it’s soothing…

      Happy new year, sir! Here’s to good days ahead!

    • Thank you, my dearest Savannah! i’m feeling good, but damn tired… vacation ahead, and hope to reset my registers a bit! The call of the fishies… Here’s to a grand year ahead for you and The Krewe! xoxoxo

  9. May I wish you the latest happy New Year of 2015 so far :). I like your bauble necklace!

    I’ve tried “reaching out” as you Yanks put it to someone else this year, with a homemade card which folds out and out with more of the message. I wish I could say I had noble intentions, but to be honest it’s remembering how good she was at a certain skill set 🙂

    So Happy New Year and all the best… and I look forward to reading it.

    • Hello, good sir! The ‘bauble’? Earned… in the truest Mardi Gras sense of the word!

      No reason to feel bad about chasing down a grand, um…. set of skills. i have one of those in my past, too. Sadly, because we DIDN’T have unfinished business, and ended our deal with a handshake, i will not be sending him any messages. He’s just a happy memory. Sometimes that’s how it has to be.

      Here’s hoping all is well for you this year! And perhaps your homemade card will pay dividends! 🙂

  10. You know i get most of this stuff, i guess i go about it a little differently but hell innit dat what make da world go round? the bridges have often confused me, i just see it more a as river or ocean, relationships are always in flux, some are meant to die and fade and some meant to flower and bloom, some are just there, like so much window dressing, the can be pleasant or nauseating, some more cyclical and some hardened in sap to be thought about or examined but never re-kindled, i mean what would i say to Cocaine Mike or Skinhead Will, i’m much different and i’m sure they are as well, i prefer them as i knew them, keep on keepin on Mama, and thanks cuz every time i read this it reminds me to get the effing ducks in order so the boyos don’t have to do it… (and there was a great piece written by a palliative doc i think, thanking David Bowie for how he handled his death, it’s out there, Bowie’s son linked, it’s a great read about a tough subject but one we all have to face.)

    • This is exactly what I’m learning, kono… MY need for resolution is solely my problem. If the other party involved has crafted a narrative that settles things for him, that is none of my business. Doesn’t concern me in the least… Remembering, reflecting, smiling or growling… the past is what it is. If I stumble on people again, then it’s all new.

      Once again, reminded of the brilliant quote by Tupak Shakur: “You can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, or even months over-analyzing a situation; trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could’ve, would’ve happened… or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and move the fuck on.”

      Bowie? Absolute brilliance to the end! I saw that piece, and think it will help a few people do a better job of facing death. Some were bitching that he kept it a ‘secret’, but god damn, isn’t that really ‘private’ and ‘nobody else’s fucking business’? Part of the reason I am so hung up on ‘preparing to die’. It’s my life, and my death, and I can stage it as I choose…

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