Ready or not, here it comes

Published 12:00 pm Sunday, December 31, 2023

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The years go by faster and faster.  My grandfather used to tell me that and I am now old enough to know this to be true from my own experience.  This will be my 70th new year.  It will also be the 14th year I have written about the day when we look back at the past year and look forward into the new one.

My annual report card of my plans for 2023 is a mixed bag, as they usually are.   There are some great successes and a few dismal failures.

Mary Lou and I planned to travel more as the world continued to open up from the pandemic and, in this regard, we had some success.  We traveled to Paris and London with our oldest daughter, her husband and our oldest grandchild.  It was a dream for us all that exceeded expectations.

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We traveled to the Canadian Rockies with our longtime traveling partners and that trip also exceeded expectations.  It was some of the most spectacular scenery we have ever seen, and we did not even have to cross an ocean.

We experienced New York, Napa Valley and San Francisco with new groups of friends.  We have been many times to those locations but traveling with a different group of people gives it an entirely new perspective.

I pledged to truly become retired by disposing of my remaining business interests.  Progress was made, but still just a bit of work to be done.

I promised myself to continue to expand the variety of books I read.  The grade was probably not an “A”, but it was at least a solid “B”.  I continue to listen to audio books as I walk.  A goal for the coming year is to read more books the old fashioned way.

Speaking of books, I stated I would begin work on my own long-planned book.  That effort is a solid “D”.  The only thing that saved me from an “F” is that the chapters are still rolling around in my head.  Otherwise, that goal stays on the list for next year.

Last year, I said I wanted to spend less time on the internet and more time around the firepit.   Who could have predicted that it would be the hottest year on record?   When the weather was right for a fire, it seemed to always be raining.  Nevertheless, a lack of effort on my part was also a cause of less gatherings around the fire.    We will reserve the discussion of my time on the internet until next year.

I talked this time last year about wanting to become more involved in our church, continue meeting new friends and finding ways to help those in need.  A lot of success on this pledge, but more can always be done.

In summary, I made progress on most of my goals for 2023.  Many of those goals are still in place for the upcoming year.  Some will always make the list; to be a better husband, father and grandfather.  To be a better friend to those I already have while also making new friends.  To remain involved in my community, church and of course, in all things Auburn.  To attend more of my grandchildren’s many, many athletic and school events.

We already have a number of trips scheduled for 2024.  We are still hoping for that long road trip across the country that we never seem to get around to.  There is still a lot of the world we want to see.  We are making progress on visiting all seven continents.

We have been blessed by so many friends along our journey.  Our family is an anchor to the past and a portal to the future.  As our family grows, our circle of friends also continues to expand.  By any measure that makes 2023 a pretty incredible year for us.

Happy New Year, friends.  May your prayers be answered, your dreams come true, your life be full and may you find peace, love and contentment along your journey in the coming year.  Ready or not, here it comes.