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Friday, December 30, 2011

December 31

Despite the fact that my grandmother had numerous grandchildren, she spent a great deal of time with our family and me, in particular. We had a special connection; I was the fortunate recipient of what she had gleaned over the course of her life concerning her extensive travels, long-time relationships, and eclectic experiences. It was a blessing that she introduced me to everything beautiful—art, literature, theater, ballet, fashion…

Nana and I had a holiday tradition which took the form of meeting on the last day of the year to review the last 365 days we had both completed. It was sheer fun for me, having no idea that she was teaching me something valuable about reflecting on decisions, actions, and goals. She showed me how to renew my vows to myself.

On December 31 we always spent the day in Manhattan. Dressed to the nines, we lunched at some chic little restaurant, always one of Nana’s favorites. Armed with our calendars and Shirley Temples (although I’m pretty sure that Nana’s was a “Dirty Shirley”) we began the ritual of evaluation.

Reviewing the year, many things became clear because it was all there in black and white in our detailed calendars—the satisfying successes, the dismal disappointments, and all the things that fell in between. It was clear to me that failures offered the most insight.

These days, I appreciate Nana’s teaching the value of reflection more than ever. I am hoping to continue this tradition with a grandchild I may have some day.

Happy New Year to all of you!

Laraine Jablon

Laraine Jablon, BA, MA, is a writer specializing in social and health concerns of seniors. She lives in Nesconset, New York, and welcomes your thoughts.