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Sunday, November 29, 2015

You Want To Change What?!

Retirement is all about change. It's much like changing jobs, except the new job isn't really work at all.  Many people struggle with change. Change is uncomfortable.  My husband, for example, hates change.  If I rearrange a room or even a drawer, he grumbles around complaining...things were fine just the way they were.  I have to smile because these changes will soon become the familiar and all the newness and strangeness will dissipate. I enjoy change, and I guess I have my mom to thank for that.  When we were growing up, we moved thirteen times.  One year, I changed school three times!  It was a tough year, as I was learning the times tables and every school was in a different place.  But, I quickly learned you either go with the flow or be miserable.  So, I grew to embrace change.

Change touches every aspect of our lives, not just as we enter retirement.  As the holiday season has begun, I again am faced with opportunities to embrace change.  My small 4-person family has now morphed to include two wonderful sons-in-law.  Our family traditions at holiday gatherings needed to be adjusted. At Thanksgiving, my youngest daughter and her new husband would not be able to share the main meal with us.  So, in order to include them in part of the Thanksgiving dinner I started a new tradition I called The Blessings Jar.

 Instead of going around the table and sharing what we were thankful for, I gave everyone little slips of paper to write down their blessings and then they were to fold them and place them in the mason jar that was the centerpiece on the table. We wouldn't tell what we wrote, at least not yet.  When my daughter and her husband arrived for dessert, they were able to jot down their blessings and add them to the jar.  I think we will read the blessings on New Year's Day or whenever we are all together at the start of the year and exchange our blessings for New Year Resolutions!  Thus a new tradition has begun.  See...change can be fun.

Right on the heels of Thanksgiving is Christmas Tree time.  When my girls were little we always had a great time picking out the tree.  Sometimes we would go out into the fields of a tree farm and cut our perfect tree down ourselves, and sometimes we found freshly cut ones at the local tree farm up the road. It was always a fun family time. But now that my girls were picking out their own trees, it was time to reinvent the tree ritual...well kind of.  We've decided that the weekend of Thanksgiving is the perfect time to get our trees and the perfect way to get them is TOGETHER.  My newest son-in-law brings the truck and all six of us meet at the tree farm to choose our trees.

Of course we give advice freely:)  Once the trees are in the back of the truck we start the drop offs.  It's nice to see the trees going in the stands and centered and watered. Of course we give advice freely again :)

I'm thinking next year we need to expand the tradition a bit more.  We all didn't get to go to everyone's house because as the trees were dropped off we left that couple behind to start their trimming.  Wouldn't it be fun to have a progressive dinner?!!! GENIUS! The first drop off point could be appetizers, the second the main course and finish the drop offs with dessert at the third home.  Meanwhile, trees would be in their stands, lights would be on their trees, and fun would be had  by all.  I love change don't you? I can feel my family's eyes rolling right now.  They don't embrace change as happily as I do.

As the year rushes to its end, it's a good time to think about change and how we greet it when it finds us.  I've found it not such a scary prospect if you try to find ways to welcome the changes around you, even if you liked the way things used to be.

Have a blessed and joyous holiday season as you go about your family traditions.  What are your thoughts on change?  I'd love to hear other perspectives on the subject.