Just Some Thoughts: Vol. 24

RJF
4 min readDec 31, 2023

It’s the end of another year.

My boo was fascinated with the pink tree.

Missing Tradition
I used to love New Year’s day growing up. It was the last hurrah before everyone had to head back to work or school. My grandparents lived about three blocks away from the Rose Parade route, so we always went to the parade. Afterwards, various family members, friends, and neighbors would stop by for the final feast of the holiday season.

There was usually a giant turkey or ham (or both) roasting in the oven, mashed potatoes, gravy, salad, dinner rolls, desserts, macaroni and cheese, lasagna, and other tantalizing foods placed on my Noni’s 6 foot kitchen table. There was hardly enough room for it all!

Usually, my mom and aunts would rewatch the parade on TV because they wanted to learn about the different flowers used for the various floats. People would fall asleep on the couch or on the living room carpet before the football game because everyone was up early getting food prepared for the day.

My grandparents had a giant, open yard, and it always had the perfect view of the B-2 bomber heading back to Edwards Air Force Base after having flown over the Rose Bowl. One of my uncle’s would be watching the TV letting us know when it flew over the Bowl, and we knew that it would only be a couple minutes wait before that beauty would fly over their yard. We’d stand out there and jump up and down, waving, hooting and hollering like the pilots could actually see us, and marvel at how cool that black bomber looked against the pure blue sky.

During the game, some of us would play cards or bingo while everyone else was watching. There was always a giant fire crackling in the hand crafted fireplace that my Nono had built by himself. Some people would go take a walk around the neighborhood, or play with the dogs in the yard. And when the game was over, we would pack up our stuff, say our last “Happy New Year” to everyone, and head home.

Man, I miss those days. I’m so thankful to have experienced so many of those New Year’s days growing up, and all the sweet memories they have provided.

Undecided
I don’t know how I feel about 2023. There were some cool things, some very uncool things, and some mediocre things in my life. The world got sloppier and more deadly; war rages on and I can’t help but wonder if it’ll ever end. I am entering the new year with some hope for my own life, working on some things, and trying to always keep in mind how lucky I am.

Goals
I hate the phrase “New Year’s resolutions”; there’s just something about it that irks me. I prefer to make goals for the new year. Some of my goals are continuations of what I have been doing, some are brand new. I try to set realistic goals, but I also try to make goals that will force me to stretch a little bit. Here are four of my goals for 2024:

  1. Continue my exercise routine that I’ve established since July. For the most part, I get in physical activity (either the gym or walking) 5–6 days a week. I want to continue this, but I also want to push myself to work a little harder and a little longer on the days I’m active.
  2. Read more for pleasure. I’ve gotten into a bad habit of scrolling on my phone for at least an hour before bed. I think that I do this because it’s totally mindless. I have a job that requires me to think all of the damn time, and I’m mentally exhausted by the time I’m getting ready for bed. My goal is to cut down on screen time and spend that time reading a book before turning out the lights.
  3. Get out of the house at least one weekend day a month. I’ve become a total homebody over the past couple of years. Part of this is because my weekends are spent handling things I don’t have time for during the week like laundry, errands, and general household duties. On top of that, most of my friends are married and have families of their own, so they have no time to hang out. I need to go out to either a museum, or a craft fair, or something interesting at least once a month. Staying home is great and I love it, but in doing so, I’m missing out on life experiences that could be fun.
  4. Cut down on the sweet treats. I’m a sugar addict, plain and simple. Candy, cookies, cakes, and other sugary delights are my weakness. I want to cut way down on this because, duh, it’s better for my body. This doesn’t mean that I won’t ever eat sweets, but I for sure need to chill on the sugar.

All of these are doable, all of these can easily be built into my schedule, and all of these will only improve my quality of life. Here’s to a better 2024!

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