...and kissing it, gently, right on the lips.
At the end of 2009 I was unhealthy and depressed. I had retired at the end of July but couldn't relax enough to enjoy it. I'd been told I needed parathyroid surgery, then subjected to test after test that showed maybe I did need the surgery, maybe I didn't, until I felt like a human guinea pig. My blood pressure was higher than ever, and there was constant pain in my legs and knees, pain so intense that longevity was not something I aspired to.
Now, at the end of 2010, I feel like a different person. The surgery never materialized, and if the question of whether I need it or not is still unresolved, I no longer worry about it. I figure if the doctors can dilly-dally about it for a year, it must not be a big deal.
The leg pain stayed with me for the first half of this year, to the point that I actually needed a walker for a week or two this past summer. Then two things happened at the same time: I broke a decades-long Diet Coke habit (4 to 5 a day) and cut my use of Prilosec in half. I have no idea whether it's because of either, neither, or both of those facts, but within a week of those changes, my leg pain began to diminish. I still have achy times, but the pain is no longer constant, and my knees are much more flexible than they've been in years. I can almost (not quite) do a deep knee bend.
At the end of 2010, I'm 31 pounds lighter than I was at the end of 2009. There's no doubt that the weight loss has helped to diminish my leg problems. I'd give it full credit except that the pain began to ease several weeks before I started the low-carb diet in September. There's lots of weight still to lose, but I feel so much better already that I wouldn't dream of stopping now.
My first great-grandchild, Owen, was born this year, a happy, healthy boy who has brought tremendous joy to our family. Three generations of family members are more than willing to do whatever it takes to bring a smile to his face, but it actually doesn't take very much. Owen smiles easily and often.
Two new fur-babies joined our family this year, too, Oliver in the first week of the year and Levi in the last week. Lucy is doing well, and Butch and Kadi are hanging in there despite age-related issues that increasingly drag them down. I can truthfully say that having Levi around has perked the old dogs up a bit. They've been more active in the last few days, more interested in what's going on around our house, and it's good to see them getting involved.
Butch and Kadi both require expensive medicine now. Fortunately, refinancing the house in October gave me a little budget leeway, plus I'm no longer spending nearly $50 a month on Diet Cokes. The savings in those two areas is paying for the dogs' medicine, which I couldn't have afforded last year.
My daughters are thriving. The younger one has blossomed in her role as "Nana" to baby Owen, and the older one has flexed her wonderful, underutilized writing muscles in preparing five glass-art tutorials this year.
One of the greatest gifts I received in 2010 was reconnecting with my good friend, Annette, who is once again brightening my days with her words, her wit, and her wisdom. We had lost contact somehow about 11 years ago, and Facebook recently helped me find her. I'm so grateful to be in touch with her again, and so pleased that we were able to pick up our friendship right where we left off.
Then, of course, there are the blogging, the photography, the books (and the Kindle my daughters gave me for my birthday), the never-ending genealogy project, and the must-see TV. I'm in the right frame of mind for all those things and to appreciate the time I have to enjoy them.
Is life perfect? Of course, not. Nobody's life is ever perfect. But for 2011, I'd really appreciate another cup of 2010.