Living Well, Dying Well

Mary Friedel-Hunt

Ah, January. Most think of Jan. 1 as a chance to start over when truly each day, each moment, is a chance to start again. Many make resolutions as they step into each day’s moments hanging on to hopes and dreams that are deep within their hearts. 
As I look back on 2019, I see many hurdles and challenges that I had to surmount along with wonderful moments of joy including the birth of my twin grand-nieces and a trip out east to see them and visit family. Family life also included moving my brother from his monastery in Illinois to the religious order’s assisted living in Indiana. This as he wrestles with Parkinson’s disease. I am sure each of you can look back through 2019 and see your own challenges and joys as you and all of us wonder what lies ahead in this new decade.
Right now, we all need hope for our world and for our own lives and the lives of those we love. 
I offer you some questions to ponder as you turn the page into 2020:
What are your hopes (not goals) for yourself; your family; your community; your country; and our world? We all need hope, especially in these trying times. 
What do you see yourself doing in order to maintain and hold onto those hopes? What changes do you want and need to make? What lifestyle suits you best? How close do you come to living consistently with what is best for you given your circumstances? What do you do each day to assure your best health possible? How do you make decisions/choices about how you use time and about who you spend time with? What hobby or interest do you want to pursue this year … perhaps one that you have postponed for too long? What holds you back? Who do you need to forgive? Who do you want to reach out to? What do you want your life to look like given what is on your plate? 
These are just the tip of a very large iceberg of questions we can ask ourselves. But typically focusing on these basic questions will lead us to many important answers and changes. 
Looking within is critical to a meaningful, deep and peace-filled life. That takes time and presence each and every day. 
Early this year I will celebrate my 80th birthday. Those of you who are in your ninth decade understand how aging contributes to the need and creation of new lifestyle changes. Hopefully it also contributes to our growing wiser, having our priorities in place, and being content. I have chosen in the past several years to live a rather contemplative life creating time daily for silence, meditation and solitude and keeping a rather simple calendar involving dear friends I love and family. This is what suits me best. 
May this decade be one of presence and hope for each of us.

Mary Friedel-Hunt MA LCSW is a clinical social worker, thanotologist and certified bereavement counselor. She can be reached at mfriedelhunt@charter.net; P.O. Box 1036, Spring Green, WI 53588; or www.PersonalGrowthandGriefSupportCenter.com. Vincent Kavaloski’s “Parables and Ponderings” will return next month.