Once Christmas is over, my mind immediately goes towards planning, hoping and dreaming for the new year. This last week always feels so quiet, restful and slow.
Last year, I had big plans and dreams. Most were upended. So much has changed, and I’m not sure what I’ve learned. I’m still in the middle. I can’t wait to look back six or twelve months and see that I’ve changed, grown. But some days I worry that I’m becoming less resilient, more fragile, less wise.
When I was younger, I used to watch the faces of women and men in their 80s and 90s — the ones with laugh wrinkles, whose eyes still sparkled and whose chuckles came easily.
I’d wonder… what did they do, what choices did they make to still be smiling. Because even if life starts out easy, by the time a human is 80, they’ve seen tragedy and hardship. It’s unavoidable.
But these smiling faces still choose joy and laughter. How?
Many days, I think of their faces and try to make choices to create laugh wrinkles and lasting chuckles.
It’s been harder this year. Every day offers opportunities to practice, to decide which fork to take — towards joy or towards the alternatives.