Happy New Year!

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I love this commercial. It’s from Staples office supply store, and it ran several years ago in August. The father’s glee is infectious, as he dances through Staples’s aisles to the tune of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” It’s a tad mean I know, given the sad looks of his children following dolefully behind, but watching it always makes me laugh.

Kids love the first day of summer. I guess I’m not the only parent who loves the first day of school. I close the door behind them after that first morning’s rush and breathe in deeply. Thirty hours a week of peace and quiet. For my workaholic self it truly is the most wonderful time of the year and I’m dancing right along with that dad.

It’s not just the peace and quiet that excites me, it also the promise. Ever since my own days as a student, when I say “New Year’s resolutions,” I am usually referring to the school year. For me, this is the time of year to make plans, begin anew and venture out to learn, grow and make it happen. Having cancer made that need all the more important. “If not not now, when?” takes on new meaning when you’ve faced your own mortality through the lense of a cancer diagnosis.

If you’ve ever been in school, are in school now, or have children going forward into those hallowed halls, let’s take a moment to list our resolutions and wish each other a Happy New Year!

1. Just because there is peace and quiet during the school day, doesn’t mean I have to fill it up with work. I take a yoga class two nights a week and I want to add another class during the day. Taking the time to exercise my body as well as my mind creates balance in my life. In fact, the word “yoga” translates loosely to “to yoke” or “to unite.” While I am breathing, stretching and building strength, I am honoring and caring for the mind/body that is living beyond cancer. The best thing about yoga is that it puts me right where I need to be.

2. Committing to a regular meditation practice isn’t easy when you’re on the go, on vacation, or living with teenagers bored with too much time on their hands. I’m going to close that door each morning and go immediately to my meditation chair. My meditation practice has been sporadic, at best, and I will prioritize it again by returning to the ritual of sitting quietly and being present.

3. It’s time to give blood again. In an earlier post, I listed the “Five Reasons You Should Consider Giving Blood.” The sixth reason is purely selfish. I love this very simple act of giving. I plan to return to a regular schedule of donating and I’m going to call and make my appointment today.

4. Emails, texts, tweets, posts and social media have inundated me with social contact. What I lack is old-fashioned, face-to-face time with friends (and FaceTime on my iPhone doesn’t count.) There is nothing to compare to the intimacy of a quiet, unrushed lunch with a good friend.  I’m going to use my phone to make dates for real contact, with real people, in real time.

5.  I am desperate to clear out clutter and reorganize my house and this is the perfect time to do it. Unspeakably hot in the summer, the attic is cooling down and ready to attack. Once I go through the whole house, I’m taking a trip over to The Fairgrounds, in Far Hills, NJ, site of the famous Visiting Nurse Association of Somerset Hills Rummage Sale.  As NJ’s largest and oldest rummage sale, the sale offers over 75,000 square feet of bargains. If you want it, you’ll probably find it there. The sale is a major fundraiser for the VNA, with 100% of the proceeds supporting its programs and enabling it to care for the uninsured and underinsured. It’s a great opportunity to clear out my house and shop for new bargains. For things the VNA can’t take, such as old cell phones, eyeglasses and the like, check out thegoodhuman.com for great suggestions.

6.  Clearing out and reorganizing is just the beginning. What I really want to do is to nest and prepare for the coming winter’s hibernation. As an interior decorator, I always stress the need for comfort. Your home should swaddle you. Especially for cancer survivors, it is so pivotal to our emotional and mental health to have a soft place to land at the end of a day. While I’m working on my house, I’ll be bringing my insights to WhereweGoNow.com in a new feature called The Survivor’s Nest. Look for it starting next week.

Happy New Year to you!  Hope you’re looking forward to the new school year, whether you’re in school or not. If you are making resolutions, please share them here and let us know what you’ll be up to in the coming months.

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

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