If you've ever had a broken heart, you know that love is not guaranteed. If you've ever crouched beside a small child in an emergency room, whispering words of love, reassurance, and prayer as the doctor tenderly stitched a gaping wound, you know that motherhood is not for the faint of heart. If you've ever lost a parent, you've learned that the future depends on you, not you, on it. Any sort of loss teaches us that anything- and everything - is fleeting. Happiness, love, and even desperation and sadness - mark not the end, but a new beginning, challenging us to seek more and further, to muster our inner strength and rise again. Today a friend posed a question out into the galaxy known as Facebook: "As December winds down, are you looking back or are you looking forward?" I never thought of it as an either-or proposition, yet as I pondered how I would answer the question, it took me only a moment to respond - aloud, in the quiet of my kitchen at midnight - this year, I will look forward only. There's no use in looking back. I've seen that movie before. Every December, with the whirlwind of Christmas behind us, our thoughts turn to the advent of another new year. Nostalgia for the year past is all around us, tempting us to take stock of the past 12 months, its ups and downs, challenges and successes. Spare me from media's penchant for making lists this time of year: the best and the worst, the most memorable and most forgettable, who wore what, where, when and how. I'm a list-maker myself (what working mother isn't?). It's helps me to stay organized and to remember all the little to-do's, like Tap on Tuesdays, Jazz on Wednesdays. A new year is a clean slate, fraught with possibility and 12 months of opportunity. For many, the new year means making a new list, a list of lofty resolutions designed to make us healthier and happier. Recently, I have felt bound by lists, all the "shoulds" and "to dos." This year, no lists (ok, maybe a few, very necessary ones, but not many). When we look to the past, we are looking for clues and cues, lessons of resilience and relationships, and the like. I have a friend who never looks back - literally - and at the same time, in a restaurant, she always insists on facing the door (like a mobster, I know). It's a metaphor for her life. Forward, always forward. That will be my mantra this year. Time is short, life is precious, and I can no longer afford the time to ponder the past and its meaning. That's not to say that I haven't learned from the past and taken note of it. But the utility in the past is what we carry with us into the future. As I remind my children regularly, it's OK to make mistakes, it's what we do with them that counts. What have we learned, what lessons do we carry with us into the future, what lessons can we share with others so that past mistakes - the big and the small - are not repeated? Suffice it to say, I've done my share of learning this past year. The challenge is to recognize that we're learning all the time. So, as I bid good riddance to 2012, one last list, the F list: 1. Family - we love them 2. Friends - we need them 3. Freedom from lists, resolutions, past mistakes, bad old movies 4. Fudge, different kinds and lots of it 5. Fear, unlike danger, is a manifestation of our minds, it is not real. 6. Fridays 7. Fondue, and other international adventures to break us out of our small, insular lives. 8. Forgiveness, faith, and other intangibles 9. Fried Green Tomatoes, the movie, not the food. 10. Forward, always forward.
The F List
I live in suburban Los Angeles with my husband, two daughters, a hamster, and a Beta fish. I have been working in higher education administration for more than 20 years and I hold an Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine University. My interests include women's leadership, work-life balance, and youth soccer.
The F List
Posted on December 30, 2012