You know how it goes. A friendly recapitulation of the year. It's not a candidate for the Pulitzer nor is it a literary achievement. It's a simple, folksy, unadorned, informational letter. It's sometimes called the Christmas Letter. I always learn something from these epistles. I love to get them.
CA mentioned earlier that she was thinking of doing one. Today she showed me the finished product. I liked it and felt she did a good job of it. She didn't tell me anything I didn't know, but she did capture the entire year, and there was even a line or two about me. It's surprisingly comforting to know you are worth a line or two in someone else's recollection of the year gone past.
I got to thinking about it and concluded that I don't think I have ever tried to do an annual letter. You know, the kind that goes through the year relating events for the family. Except for my immediate family, and I am not sure about them, I can't imagine anyone being the least interested in what my life was like every month this past year. When I actually think about it, I can come up with entire years that I would just as soon forget.
I don't think this years will be forgotten. This year I became fully invested in my ninth decade - an accomplishment not afforded to a lot of people - and for that I am grateful. This is also the year that my partner in this life, Carol Ann, has chosen to retire from nursing. Yes, there are many details, sideshows, detours and distractions, but those two things pretty much sum up the year for us both.
Becoming an Octogenarian is more than surviving. It's an epiphany. The bush is indeed burning and is not being consumed. It's time to pay attention. I hear a voice coming from within the fire saying, "Whoa there pilgrim, sit down here beneath this Bodhi Tree and study about things a while". I don't believe that particular tree grows in my neighborhood, but other trees do and I have spent a fair amount of time beneath them. So? Nothing. I don't feel enlightened or transported into some Nirvantic existence. I do feel comfortable in my skin and very happy to still have it. That's got to mean something.
For both of us to be fully retired beings up a whole set of conditions, opportunities and challenges that will take some getting used to. Just being aware of the shift in our situation beings up some anxiety. You think about it a lot. I mean, what are we going go do with all that time - together? We've about decided to just let it happen. Take a trip. Hang out with it for a while. What's the rush?
In other matters - we both lost significant weight this year. I thought I'd turn out to be prettier. CA did but guess what? I did NOT! The same ugly wrinkled old guy stares back at me in the bathroom mirror. But I feel pretty good and for that alone I am thankful.
Any time you can look back at a whole year and realize you survived it in one piece, you can be thankful. I am thankful. Any time you can feel able to hope into another year you can be thankful. I am thankful.
Maybe I'll have more exciting things to report next year.
Be well, and stay tuned....
I'm Jerry Henderson