A Look at the Old Year and Its Blessings

| January 2, 2022 | 0 Comments

2021 was certainly much better than 2020.  First, it allowed us a bit of a respite from the isolation of 2020, especially for those of us who got vaccinated.  I, for one, was thrilled.  On the date that my vaccinations were deemed effective, I had a cleaning crew clean my entire house!  I never expected that in my 80s I would have the major responsibility for the housework and gardening. I admit it was good for me.  I learned that it can be rewarding, but not rewarding enough that I am willing to do it ad infinitum (or to the grave).  I am grateful to have the means to pay someone to clean twice a month.  I still do the gardening, with a little help from the grandsons and husband.

The vaccine also allowed theatres to reopen with cautionary behaviors.  We can go to restaurants, although my husband and I still prefer to be outdoors whenever possible.  We are once more masked thanks to the new variant, but we are thankful to be vaccinated and boostered.

I spent our year of incarceration watching YouTubes of dressage, a form of horseback riding. Rider and horse attempt to be well-balanced enough to perform various maneuvers with just a slight shift of weight or movement of a human’s body part, hopefully conveying to the horse what you would like him to do.  The more I watched, the more obsessed I became.  Finally, in July of 2021, I found an excellent trainer who was willing to teach a geriatric rank-beginner the principles of dressage. 

Friends say it has changed me; I agree.  I am charged with energy and find myself doing shocking activities such as vacuuming the house.  I have become manic thanks to riding twice a week.  I even go to the gym to maintain or gain whatever physical strength I might need.  I am happier than I have ever been in my life.  I have said this before:  find and follow your passion to truly benefit from old age.  To do this, it is worth staying healthy and maintaining your body.

Unfortunately, today we still face many serious issues.  Our country is as divided politically as it was prior to, during, and after the Civil War.  Whereas we once compromised, working together for the greater good of the country, today seems to be just a power struggle, each side trying to defeat the other.  Shootings occur with sickening regularity.  Homelessness increases.  Education in the United States is falling behind that of other countries.  Health coverage is still hideously expensive.  Sadly, many people are working harder; however, their pay is insufficient to allow them to live comfortably in our country.  The almighty dollar seems to be winning the war against climate change.  Despite violent changes in the weather which science has proved are the result of pollution and mismanagement of the land we have, we continue to waste food and water, using land and resources with neither care nor conservation, and grabbing whatever materials will fill our coffers with money. 

Despite the myriad problems our planet and the nations living on it are facing, I see bright spots.  COVID has given us some blessings.  Realizing how easily we can lose our loved ones, getting together with friends and family has more meaning than it did.  The feeling of celebration seems stronger.  This holiday season seemed to have turned every neighborhood into a Santa Claus Lane.   

On the Saturday before Christmas, a group of us gathered at a friend’s home in Coronado where we had drinks and snacks before taking off for the Hotel del Coronado, said to be three blocks from her home.  About a mile or so later (she either is spatially challenged or has no concept of distance) we came to the hotel.  We walked past hordes of people, looking, eating, drinking.  The atmosphere was one of glee and happiness.  The hotel lived up to its reputation.  The main tree stood in its place of honor in the center of the huge lobby.  We took the opportunity to preserve our presence on film.  Then we went out to look at the light show in two enormous conifers on the hotel grounds.  Again, people radiated joy.  Our last stop was dinner at the Tavern, next to the hotel.   By the time I got home, I had two huge blisters: one on a heel; one on a toe.  The fun we had made up for the blisters’ pain.

Covid has made us relish working and playing with our teenaged grandsons.  Since we are all vaccinated, it is wonderful to have them help me with clearing debris from windstorms, helping grandpa clean the roof of debris, and woodworking with grandpa making presents for family and friends.

For some reason, COVID meant we watch less television.  Perhaps stopping our cable subscription helped; finding programs is harder without cable.  Both my husband and I love to read; we find books more entertaining than television.  I suspect we interact more as well.

COVID has made us physically more active.  My husband walks with a friend weekly, teaches a couple of classes at Mesa online and in person, works in his woodshop, serves on the San Diego Automotive Museum board, is active in a book group.  I have horseback lessons twice a week, go to the gym at least two or more of the other days of the week, garden, bake, make candy, and do household chores. 

While I really enjoyed my solitude during our year of isolation, I am thoroughly enjoying visiting with friends, both old and new.  I still read in my spare time and often when I ride the stationary bike at the gym.  These activities are not new to us; the difference is we relish the time we spend doing them. 

COVID has changed us.  People seem more patient.  I suspect knowing everything is finite makes each day seem more vivid and encourages us to really Carpe diem!

At 6:30 p.m., Thursday, January 27, Tyler Timble will present a Zoom lecture on backyard fruit for the Mission Hills Garden Club.

The Hotel Coronado provides the perfect setting for Christmas celebrations.

Category: Architecture, Business, Entertainment, Events, Food, Historical, Holidays, Local News

About the Author ()

Barbara Strona is a native Californian who grew up in the Mid-West and Los Angeles. She and her architect husband, Carl, came to San Diego in 1968 and have lived in Mission Hills since early 1971. Barbara received a Bachelor of Arts from Scripps College with a major in English, and a minor in Art. She attended UCLA graduate school and received a General Secondary Credential. She taught English in Los Angeles, Pennsylvania, and at Point Loma High School. She has been a Realtor specializing in residential sales since 1984. Her passions include her job, reading, writing, foreign languages and foreign countries, animals (feathered or furry), theatre, and her family: husband, two adult children and two grandsons.