How I will embrace positive changes in 2016

When the ball drops at midnight on Jan. 1, 2016, it will usher in a new year — and one, I’ve decided, will be a year of transition for me. While we can’t change the past, and there are things that will remain foremost in my mind no matter what I do, we can move forward, remembering but making room for positive new memories.

In 2016, I want to put to rest some of the negative memories associated with specific dates and events and embrace change. Instead of dwelling in the sadness, I’ll choose to make new happy memories. Yes, the sad memories will remain, and that’s okay, but they don’t have to dictate my life.

In other words, I am taking control. In fact, I’ve already begun.

For example, the anniversary of Jim’s funeral has been somber for me in the past. But this year, I attended my flyball (remember it’s the dog relay racing team sport) team’s annual Christmas party. The year Jim died, the team attended his funeral instead of holding the Christmas party. This year — five years later — I rode to the party with a teammate friend and her husband, and had a wonderful time with our other teammates who could attend.

Our flyball team Flyball MAINEiacs had its annual Christmas party at team members Lisa and Andy Lane's year-round bed and breakfast SpinnAcres in Waldoboro.  Teammates Sarah Camire, (left) Travis Labonte and I sat together for the meal. (Photo Courtesy of Lisa DeAngelis Lane)

Our flyball team Flyball MAINEiacs had its annual Christmas party at team members Lisa and Andy Lane’s year-round bed and breakfast SpinnAcres in Waldoboro. Teammates Sarah Camire, (left) Travis Labonte and I sat together for the meal. (Photo Courtesy of Lisa DeAngelis Lane)

I’ll always remember with sadness about when Jim’s funeral was held, but I’ve now made room in my memory for a very fun team party — a positive addition.

I have never been one to make New Year’s resolutions. I don’t seem to have the discipline to see them through. But this year, turning negative memories into positive ones is a resolution I think I can handle.

I am not naive enough to think it is really this simple, but I think it’s a good goal. Even if I change the way I think about only a couple of events or dates in 2016, I will consider it a successful venture.

This, in of itself, is a change for me, since I am not the resolution-making type.

New Year’s Eve was never a big deal in our house. Jim usually had to work until nearly midnight, and if he didn’t, we were lucky to stay awake long enough to ring in the new year. Usually we only made it until around 10 p.m. or so. We just figured the new year would come in with or without us, and it didn’t really matter if we saw it in.

If Jim had to work, I often made a “carpet picnic” with munchies including veggies and dip, crackers and cheese, and shrimp cocktail. I spread out a blanket on the living room floor, and we watched the New Year’s Eve ball drop on TV if the new year had not rung in before Jim got home. If it had, we toasted the new year together and enjoyed our snacks before heading to bed.

As we munched, we talked about the year we had just lived and about the things we knew were coming up in the year pending. And we talked about more immediate things, like what we were having for dinner on New Year’s Day and what we might do for an activity. We hardly ever talked about resolutions.

However, after five years of widowhood, I feel like it’s time to make some changes. Nothing drastic. More emotional, attitudinal, slow down my life and smell the roses kinds of changes. I finally feel like I am in a place where I can take control over some aspects of me.

So far, after my self-imposed sabbatical from dog sports that began this fall and will continue until after the first of the year, it’s going well.

My shifting attitude stayed with me through Christmas, which I happily spent with family and friends, making memories that will help sustain me during Maine’s more difficult months of winter weather.

Whatever happens in 2016, I don’t want to be a victim of the calendar, or feel like I’m floating on the waves to an unknown destination. I want to make my own choices again. I want to do things with deliberation and purpose. I want to be home more and make my house MY home. I want to feel like I have a life again.

And I will.

Happy New Year’s! I hope you all have success with your 2016 goals.

 

My niece Jessica gave me a pair of these beautiful steins for Christmas. They have sporting dogs on them, including a Brittany. A Happy New Year's toast to you all!

My niece Jessica gave me a pair of these beautiful steins for Christmas. They have sporting dogs on them, including a Brittany. A Happy New Year’s toast to you all!

JULIE HARRIS

About JULIE HARRIS

As a longtime employee of Bangor Daily News, I have served many roles over the years, but I now have a dream job as Community Editor. I live in Hermon with my four Brittany dogs: Sassy, Bullet, Thistle and Quincy, who keep me busy in various dog sports. I was widowed at age 51 when my husband, Jim, died of pancreatic cancer.