January 12, 2021 - 8:00am -- lehman.488@osu.edu

My fingers are not easily adapting to 2021, but I’m anxiously awaiting the many possibilities that a new year will bring.  I discovered this quote that summarizes 2020 for me…” Sometimes you have to let go of what’s gone, appreciate what remains, and look forward to what comes next.” (author unknown).

It was a year of change, in work, in school, in family schedules and routines, and in our communities.  There have been good things to appreciate, such as:

New technology- Zooms, teaching methods, teamwork, virtual conferences, and professional development opportunities that I wouldn’t have been able to take advantage of if they weren’t virtual.

Home projects- I’ve been able to do more cleaning, painting, and planning for more projects than before.  Working from home has inspired me to get some things done that have needed done for a while, I’m tired of looking at things that need changed.

New budgets- During the last year I’ve saved money in the budget on gas, food away from home, and shopping, without the temptation to pick up things I really don't need.  That money can go for larger project goals that are on the list.

Time was reallocated and I realized that I squander precious minutes.  It really doesn’t take as much time to get ready in the mornings as it used to, and I’m able to spend more time in nature and outside in general, especially with the critters in the barn.  I do enjoy some extra time in the kitchen to come up with nourishing meals both for our family and to share with others.  I’ve found time to reach out to friends and family in different ways -Zoom, FaceTime, phone calls and just dropping a quick note in the mail.

Through this year, I’ve realized how much I miss the simple things, the family time and traditions that mean more when we can’t do them the way we’ve usually done them.  The realization that we don’t really appreciate some things until we don’t have them or can’t do them is certainly true - with loss comes gratitude.  I want to savor the moments and be mindful of the precious time I’m given with family and friends.

 In reflection, this year was a time to reprioritize some of the things that habits had changed, some of those traits that I allowed to creep in on my daily routine.  I’m reminded that I do have a choice; I can keep the good opportunities that were facilitated this year and continue to make improvements with my habits, while continuing to work to remove the things that squander my time.

In years past, I’ve set personal goals.  I keep a notebook with a list of things that I’d like to accomplish each year. Some years I can check them all off the list; other times I find that “life happens” and unexpected opportunities arise that cause some things to change.  For several years, I’ve been intrigued with the challenge of choosing a word to help guide some of the goals and ambitions that I may strive to achieve.  Some of my co-workers have chosen words like patience or focus.  This year I’m going to try it -  my word is going to be mindful.  I am going to write it on cards and post on my car visor, my bathroom mirror, and kitchen window. In essence, mindful to me means paying attention in the moment so that I’m more aware of the moment or the person I’m with.   I want to have a gentle reminder to mindfully approach the day by paying attention to the sights, sounds and smells around me.  I want to be intentional about how I choose to spend my time, and plan upcoming projects.  I want to practice being mindful at home, work and community.  I want to mindfully engage in conversations with friends and co-workers and pay attention to the little things that make life so special.  Where do you want to be in 2021?  Check out our website wayne.osu.edu for details or contact me at hill.14@osu.edu

Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.

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