I am gazing fondly, wistfully, and not a little regretfully at our Christmas tree. Each year’s tree is my favorite and this year’s is no exception. It’s our first full-sized tree and has a place of honor in our little apartment. It is cheerfully adorned with old and new ornaments, including little reindeer made from traced baby feet. It is drinking its fill of Sprite and so far it’s still green! I inhale deeply of its delicious festive fragrance every day; every morning our two-year old rushes over to it and begs for the lights to come on. It’s almost part of our family now, hence the regret. I know that in just a couple of weeks the gifts will be unwrapped; the ornaments will come down and be safely stowed away for the next tree; the lights will be unplugged and wrapped up; and the tree? The tree will be taken to the dump never to be seen again. How can something be so treasured and then so quickly removed and forgotten? The more I reflect, the more I realize that this happens frequently in life.
My mind has been drifting over the year as I prepare for 2017. It’s painful how quickly a year passes; wasn’t it only yesterday that we toasted in 2016? Each year I determine to savor the little moments more, to slow down, to keep my priorities in the right order, to treasure time with family and friends, yet each December I regret all of the little moments I took for granted, the days I counted instead of savored, the misplaced priorities, and the lack of time with family and friends. Suddenly I’m aware of my aging dog, that this might very likely be my last year in my home state, and that people close to me aren’t getting younger. Simply comparing my children’s pictures from January with how they look now is a startling reminder that time changes things.
Passing years are much like our Christmas trees. They are received with great joy and anticipation, adorned with idyllic resolutions, hopes and dreams, and all too quickly worn out and relegated to unknown recesses of our memory. I realize that we can’t carry the old years with us into the new ones, just like we can’t save every beloved tree, but I think we can absorb each year to its fullest that we are allowed to live. I plan to do just that in the remaining 2 weeks of 2016 and in the years to come. I think I will forego the usual new year’s resolutions and instead focus on: “A Bit More and a Bit Less.” I am going to devote a bit more of my time and attention on souls and a bit less on possessions. (For example, if I have to choose between reading a book to my kids and reading status updates on Facebook then Facebook will lose every time.) I will try to rejoice a bit more and complain a bit less. I may even be a bit more spontaneous and clean a bit less!! I think that with this new motto in mind I’ll be able to bid our Christmas tree adieu with a peaceful heart. But until that day comes, I’m going to enjoy it for all it’s worth!
What about you?