My 50th high school reunion is next year.
It’s another reminder that I wasted most of my high school experience, at least the first two years. I would either sit in the back of the classroom and secretly read books that had nothing to do with school, or sit in the back row of Spanish class, flipping nickels (you flip a nickel and call heads or tails and keep it if you win) with Don Andrews. I’ll shared Don’s life with you in a couple weeks.
I rarely studied, almost never took work home (you know, homework), and consequently, my grade point average at the end of four years was 2.1.
Things changed in my junior year. I’m not sure what it was. I just remember sitting in geometry class with Mr. Ewing, and in psychology class with Mr. Chambers, and in English class with Mrs. Miller, and in physics class with Mr. Augsburger, and then in literature class with Mr. Stillwell, and well, I remember saying to myself, “Geez, I think I like learning these things. I think I could make better grades if I just studied a little bit. And who knows, maybe I could go to college.”
Maybe I just grew up. My relationship with my best friend in high school Jeff Wilson, helped. He was probably the smartest person I’ve known. We were best friends and maybe some of his smartness rubbed off on me.
I went on to college and graduate school and then to seminary, and then followed up with a post graduate program at Florida Institute of Technology in behavior analysis. It all totaled about nine years of higher education. Mind you it was a lot of hard work, and I was always working at least one job, but in all those years that followed high school, I never made less than a B, and mostly A’s.
Grades mattered to me.
So, as 2023 comes to close, I’ll give myself a grade on my effort and my growth, and the positive changes I was able to make. Put in another way, how well did I take care of myself in 2023? As much as I hate getting messages from my bank about my credit score changing when I bought my new Jeep, maybe that’s another way of looking at 2023. What was your self-care score for 2023? Not my credit score, but my self-care Score.
Maybe this is something you should consider.
Remember, this is you giving yourself a score. Be easy on yourself. Be gracious with yourself. Grade yourself on the curve if you want, nobody’s looking. Maybe bump your score up a level just for shits and giggles. Maybe an 800+.
But take some time one morning this week, sit by a window, looking out on the world with a hot drink, and reflect on 2023. Forget about all the bullshit you’ve heard about happiness and being the best version of yourself. Ignore all the images of men and women that have been airbrushed and altered. They make you feel like a complete fitness failure. Tell all the people in those commercials about joining a gym, and losing weight, and being richer, and a perfect time manager, to go to Hell. Forget about those little extra sweets you indulged in, and the one extra fancy martini you had, and those late-night snacks. Take a deep, deep breath, and wrap your arms around yourself. Go on, do it right now. Squeeze the person who tried and struggled and fought the good fight every day this past year.
And then, look at all the wonderful things you did. Maybe you cut back on something. Maybe you walked away from a toxic relationship. Maybe you read more. Maybe you watched less TV. Maybe you stopped buying snack food or maybe even quit eating snack food. Maybe you drank less or worked out more or simply walked more. I can hear you saying, “Yes,” with that small voice from within. “Yes, I did that. I know I walked more. I lost a little weight. I can see it in the way my clothes fit. I feel stronger.”
My Self-Care Score for 2023
If you read this blog, it wouldn’t surprise you that I spent lots of time in the woods, in canyons, in the desert, on mountains, hiking and backpacking. I read a lot of books this year, probably 100. Maybe more. I’m just guessing. Mostly about aging. Mostly for my blog. I read several memoirs about obesity and about dementia and stroke. Those were life changing.
I’m thinking I’m at least as strong as I was at the beginning of 2023. No wait, I’m stronger, I’m bumping that score up a little bit.
I renewed a long-time friendship. I spent time with my brothers, backpacking, and with my sons, hiking.
I learned a little bit about being a better business owner <fingers crossed>.
I spent time with good friends and family. Walking. Dinners. Get togethers. Happy hours. Holidays.
I spent the year working at being a better husband. You know, the important stuff.
So what kind of score am I going to give myself? You guessed it. It’s private.
What’s Your Self-Care Score?
How about you? Wait, wait, don’t tell me. But somewhere in the quiet-inner part of you, think about it.
Forget all the background noise from people trying to sell you something, and graciously, kindly, tell yourself you did a pretty damn good job taking care of yourself this past year.
Next week, I’m going to pivot to 2024 and share how to get stronger. I’m going to avoid talking about resolutions and look at it more like a trail map. Like a topographical map. Don’t worry, I’ll teach you to how to be a Cartographer.
This week is about looking at your assets and your strengths and focusing on what you did well.
Next week will focus on your deficits, and what needs to be improved and what needs to get stronger.
My wife Rommie and I sat down with our Clinical Director this past week and looked over our company and reflected on how well we’ve provided leadership for our staff, our employees, and our clients in 2023.
Maybe it would be good for you and your partner to sit down and reflect on 2023. Nobody’s perfect. We all make mistakes.
Reflecting is all about reliving the past and focusing on what you learned.
Take a deep breath and give yourself a hug.
To read more entries in the Healthy Aging series, click here.