‘Even when times were tough, I still found things to be thankful for’

Jan 26, 2020
Reflecting on the year that was 2019, this writer has found many positives. Source: Getty Images

I’m not one for loads of resolutions, but I felt that in the emergence of a brand new decade, 2020 as a new year has to be an improvement on the last year for many. I didn’t make it to 12am, but I could hear the fireworks down at our local jetty carnival.

Earlier in the evening a friend and I ate at our local beachside twilight markets, then had a drink at the local while a highland band marched past. Young families were walking up the jetty strip with their sparklers to go and see the fireworks. There was a sense of happiness as they headed towards the beach. However, an earlier image of families stranded on a beach in Victoria while their town burned haunted me. Many country towns in New South Wales did not have fireworks due to the current bushfire emergency.

But do we really have good and bad years? Personally mine was one of my best.

My financial situation improved, I found new networks of friendships and activities, I moved into a better home, my family seemed to have less critical situations and my health was pretty good so I can say that I had a good 2019. One of the highlights being a trip as a guest of Royal Caribbean Cruises to travel on the Azamara Quest to Japan, Russia and Alaska. My only task was to enjoy, experience and then write (which I love doing) about my experience.

It was wonderful and I’m still totally amazed that it happened to me, who has always wanted to travel but have not had the funds to do so. I also visited family in New Zealand, re experienced the amazing West Coast of the South Island in spite of the Mosque shootings whilst I was there. I also got to see Madame Butterfly at the Sydney Opera House. My first, and a treat from a kind friend. All in all, I did some new and unexpected things.

A harder part was having to move house, and to downsize. It was gruelling, hard and sheer endurance at times, but friends helped and I got there.

I’m able to write on my shady back porch watching magpies in the birdbath. The coffee machine is on, and my cat is lying asleep on the chair beside me.

One young friend had car accidents, several operations, work problems, financial hassles and so much more. She lost a friend to suicide.

She, like many could not wait for the year to end. Me, as a much older model am somewhat more resilient, more prosaic and more resigned.

Life happens, s**t happens, good things happen, awful unfair things happen. People die, babies are born, there are natural disasters and global events that horrify us. It can feel overwhelming.

A friend died of cancer. But must it totally consume us?

Sometimes I feel we need to take a step back and be thankful for the little things like family (both flawed and perfect), friends, the food we eat, the fact that we have a roof over our heads (even if it is not flash or owned) our pets, our communities, our access to health care, our pensions if we have one, our country which in spite of current bushfires is amazing, and just the fact that we are alive in this new decade full of endless possibilities and probable challenges.

Remember the old slogan ‘Life, be in it’. Happy New Year.

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Have you had a chance to reflect on 2019? What are you thankful for?

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