Old Year Endings, New Year Beginnings

As we turn the page to a new year, it’s important to pause briefly to reflect on the last twelve months and appreciate how we’ve grown: What have I learned? How has my family, both biological and chosen, changed? What have we celebrated and what have we grieved?

365 Days

Life happens one day at a time, but it’s easy to lose sight of all that can happen in 365 consecutive days. In 2019, I embarked on this journey of entrepreneurship - something I really never thought I’d do - and along the way, met some of the most inspiring clients and colleagues, solved problems I didn’t know existed, and learned something new almost every day. To those who taught me, inspired me, trusted in me, and encouraged me in 2019, I can’t thank you enough.

Hope for the new

A new year is also an opportunity to consider our hopes for the future and integrate what we have learned. I think this is why so many of us make New Year’s Resolutions. Even if we only stick to our well-meaning resolutions for a few weeks, there is a natural feeling of optimism to the promise of the unknown, the near-future which we have yet to see. In 2020, I am looking forward to continuing to work with clients to bring joy to the aging process, simplifying senior care navigation, and helping families throughout the lifespan. And, on a personal note, my husband and I are also looking forward to growing our family and welcoming our first child in these first few weeks of 2020!

If last year was complicated

While we recognize that a new year can be a time of hope and excitement, it can also be a difficult time of grief for people who may be starting a new year without someone they love for the first time. If someone you love passed away last year, or if 2019 was the year you watched dementia significantly change a person you know, I see you. It’s ok to grieve if January 1, 2019, seems like it was better or happier than January 1, 2020. Change and grief are inevitable, and it’s important to recognize that whatever you’re feeling, as you reflect on the last year -- it’s ok!

If you can relate to this, I encourage you to think of ways you can take care of yourself as we start 2020.

1. What do you need to do to commemorate and celebrate 2019? Rituals can be extremely helpful to the grieving process and to help give us closure. Can we celebrate our loved ones with their favorite vanilla ice cream on their birthday or with their favorite song every Sunday night?

2. What new traditions can you make in 2020? It’s possible for families to make new traditions without disrespect to the old, and times of change in families can be perfect opportunities to create new traditions.

3. Who can you talk to? It is easy to isolate ourselves when we don’t feel good, even if we know we’re not the only one going through a difficult time. It can be helpful to talk to a friend, spouse, adult child, or neighbor and be reminded that you’re not alone. You’re not alone!

New beginnings are wonderful, but let’s be cautious not to idealize them. New beginnings come after certain endings. So, go ahead- make your optimistic New Year’s Resolutions and then keep going - we have a whole year ahead of us.

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