Jean Croker Petke

Backwards and Forwards

Backwards and Forwards

The new year has snuck up on me — probably while I was doing other things, like Christmas and family and cooking and cleaning and laundry and talking and puzzle-making and oh, so many other things — the latest is napping in my very quiet, reclaimed post-holiday house.


Looking backwards:

  • I didn’t read many books this year. I thought my established reading habit of recent years would stay in place. It didn’t happen.
  • The doc wanted me to lose a little weight. Despite my sometimes great efforts, no pounds were permanently lost.
  • A long-time writing project got a feeble restart but I’ve not maintained the momentum.
  • I practice piano every day. It’s my best point of discipline and continual progress.
  • I always made time for friends: to share a meal, to have conversation over coffee, to play a few games of Five Crowns or Scrabble. They are the icing on my life-cake.
  • I always made time for family. Sometimes I traveled to them, sometimes they traveled to me. They take priority over everything else and I’m grateful for all the times we shared this year.
  • I’m totally disciplined when the doc asks me to keep data regarding treatment and med changes.

As I reread my list, I notice I wrote the negative things first. Isn’t that how we usually do it? We start with the bad stuff. Only later do we think of the good things and good times and conquered challenges.

When I think about the upcoming new year, my first inclination is to correct all the wrongs and lazies and disorganizations and undisciplines in my life. I call it “Reform My Entire World” thinking. If I made a list it would be very long and impossible to accomplish. Such a list is crazy making and sets me up for failure.

Here’s what I’m thinking for the new year:

Reading: I’ll return to my daily reading habit. My habit has only been set aside for one year. I will reclaim it. I’ve missed the books.

Creativity: I’ve been inspired by sketchbookskool. Though I’ve taken a drawing class and experimented with watercolors, such creative endeavors have been set aside for years. I will return to some regular drawing using paper and pencils I already have.

Piano: My piano practice will continue. Besides my regular spring recital I’m creating a program featuring women composers for an upcoming performance.

Veggies: I will add more veggies to my meals. If they tasted like fresh baked bread with melting butter this would be a whole lot easier for me. While there’s much room for improvement, I know exactly what to do.

I suspect you, too, are pondering both backwards and forwards: how your past year has been and how you’d like your new year to be. Here are my suggestions as you move forward:

  • Acknowledge what didn’t go so well last year, but focus mainly on the good things.
  • Pick a few small things to change, easy steps, that guarantee your success.
  • Remember, most of your world is fine. The cumulative effect of tiny steps will be cause for celebration.

Happy New Year!!

Until next Tuesday . . .


2 Comments - Leave a Comment
  • Linda Dingus -

    Jean I have managed to follow a lifestyle (diet) that has completely erased my fibromyalga pain. And on top of that I have lost 30 pounds and my AIC dropped to normal. No longer borderline diabetic. Feel great. The lifestyle is called The Shepard’s Code. This lifestyle has helped me so much that I was able to run the length of Charlotte Airport. I also done a 2.5 mile hike with my brother in San Luis Obispo. I am the world’s worst to start something and then quit. I started this lifestyle in February 2018 and it has made a big difference in my clinicals. Every time I think about quiting, I remember the awful pain I suffered before.

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