It seemed like just yesterday that we breathed a sigh of relief after the early Thanksgiving festivities. The calendar allowed for an “extra” week to the end of the year, but time flies and there remains only a couple of weeks for doing in 2023 before thinking about 2024. This year really did go like a roll of toilet paper.
With still so much to do, this is still a good time to pause. Yes, pause. Rewind and play back 2023 even before it ends. Certainly, you have experienced enough of the year to have formed an opinion of it. Some easy review questions to ask yourself might be: How was 2023 for you? What did you accomplish that you had set out to do? Did you keep your New Years resolutions? Do you even remember those resolutions? Is it what you expected? Oh, but wait! That might be the hard question to ask yourself. Is it what you were expecting?
It may be straightforward to list the things we want to do, those we need to do, our goals, and how close we came to meeting them, though hard on ourselves we are when we critique ourselves. As the holidays approach, and the year comes to an end, it’s easy to review this year’s accomplishments and begin anew with new goals. But what about all the good and not so good things that happened that was unplanned? And in the end, maybe turned out better than expected?
In May we wrote of an unexpected event when Diem’s yard doubled as a bird mini-sanctuary. More unexpected now, 7 months later, the flock has grown and the sanctuary has expanded. Gabby Goose still cannot fly and is a daily visitor. He spends the day on the front lawn, following her around while she’s outside, and is sure to bid her goodbye at dusk. Boss and Motley are a couple of crows who oversee the yard, chasing the smaller birds away and taking over the bird bath. This summer, they introduced their little LB (Little Boss) to the group. During warm days, great blue herons Erron and Herodia wade in the nearby lake, on their own, never together. Now and then Gabby's flock gathers for a convention on the lawn. They are most delighted when there’s a wild grain party, with bird seeds scattered over the yard, particularly as the weather turns colder and food becomes scarce. Most recently, a mallard duck pair, Waddle and Viola, joined up with Gabby to become an inseparable trio.
The feathered friends might have become enemies and a nuisance if their presence was not welcomed. Diem could have had the stress of chasing them from her yard, to keep the grass green and the porch droppings-less. Instead, she provided a safe place for them to nap and rest, pick at the grass, and mess up her garden. Watching the animals and interacting with them added joy to her day. “Seeing the joy I get caring for them, and seeing how they care for each other, is no less than the care I feel for those I call friends and family.”
Do you see what we mean? Unexpected moments over time become remarkably memorable. Some might disagree, arguing that the animals merely fend for themselves to survive. True, we all do what we must to survive. A closer look reveals that they also care for each other, in a way that we could not imagine. Geese and ducks have their own version of a blended family that nature alone may not have arranged for them. They get along peacefully and always on the lookout for each other, to survive, to thrive, despite their own unfortunate situations.
As the end of the year approaches, take time to connect with those who are most important to you. No matter how busy life gets and how fast time goes, we are here with each other, for each other. The moments we share may not be what you planned but they are still part of a plan. Welcome the unexpected with gratitude as you would unexpected gifts, adding to life’s meaningful and rewarding experiences, compiled one day, one moment at a time.
What are some unexpected moments that made your 2023 remarkably memorable?