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Embracing the New Year: Reflections of Years Past

By Nathan Coker
In Bayou Kidz
Jan 6th, 2023

Article by Cindy G. Foust

Welp, here we all are on the cusp of 2023, which really sounds like a sci-fi movie more than anything, right? It seems like I was just sitting in front of my Christmas tree writing my column last year and suddenly, here we are again. Time sure flies when you’re having fun, or so they say. In doing what most of us do this time of year, I’ve spent the last few weeks really reflecting on 2022 and what it looked like through my rearview lens. Anybody else out there catch themselves looking backwards, too? For me, it was a year filled with physical healing and really trying to move myself into a healthy mental place, as well. That’s much easier to say than do, right? Especially if you compound it with going through the “M” word (men-O-pause) which makes me feel all kinds of ways on all kinds of days. Can I say men-O-pause in a children’s column? Since I’m the copyeditor, I guess I can! This season of my life has certainly brought its own set of challenges, but ones I will gladly take as long as I’m healthy. But it’s not for the weak of heart and I often think we need a support group to navigate our way through it. Any takers? But, aside from my family getting their own apartment to handle my sometimes mood swings, I’m making it. Yep…that’s exactly what my thoughts have been over the last few weeks…I simply feel like I’m just “making it.” And readers…I can do better than that.

I have spent the last 10 years (Happy Anniversary to me) sitting with each of you one page a month. That’s 120 columns of me writing, rhyming, preaching, praying, laughing and counseloring (not a word, but sounds good) my way through the years. Believe this or not, I have popped my computer open hundreds of times over the years with absolutely no idea what I was going to write about, when suddenly, like I’m Dorothy and I get help from the Wizard, I’m typing away…one sentence at a time. As I “reflect” over these years we’ve spent together, I think about several things I have learned. As someone who loves a good list, and loves it even more when I can highlight something off my list, I’m going to give you a few of those lessons.

For one, I have learned that the most significant, precious thing we have is our relationships. My pastor says it’s the most important word in the English language and I think I agree. Our family, our friends…these are the most valuable asset we have, not matter what the bank says we have in our account. Some family friends are going through the inexplicable tragedy of losing their child, their grandson, their brother, their cousin, their friend, and readers, it’s been devastating for me. It conjures up all the feelings, the thoughts, the agony I have, too, felt, and never ever want to experience again. The loss of life, at any age, is the most difficult thing we will go through this side of Heaven, and as I get older, those losses seem to be coming more frequently. That’s why I say, the most important thing we can do is preserve those relationships…nurture them…care for them…love them.

Which brings me to number two and that is no conflict is too big to overcome. Nor is it too important to let it go unresolved. I’m speaking to my own self in that differences happen every day…in all walks of life. We have them with our family, our friends, our co-workers, our hair dresser (except mine, because Connie Sue is perfect), our mailman. It’s silly, but we let things come between us every day that in the grand scheme of life really don’t mean a hill of squat (I’m eloquent with the prose, for sure). The bottom line is…be the resolution. Fix the problem. Nurture the relationship. You will never regret it.

Third, our health cannot simply be taken for granted, and that’s our mental health, as well. I have people in my life who have had struggles with this and it’s just as real as the chemotherapy I had to take last year.
Sometimes we see it, sometimes we don’t, and I’m making a concerted effort to be more present for everyone around me this year. I, too, have struggled with worry and fear and anxiety…I could write an entire column on the grip that has had on my life…the chokehold I have lived under. But last night, in the quiet of a church service, where beautiful music was being played and sung, and my beautiful dancer was performing, I sat with a tear stained face and just let it go. If it sounds hard to believe, you should try being me. Maybe I wanted to give it up so desperately or maybe it was just God’s favor on me, but I felt like a ton of bricks lifted off my chest.

Finally, what I have learned (I have to stop somewhere or else Cassie will fire me from my job of 10 years, lest anyone forget how long it’s been), is that I am a very fortunate person. I have a wonderful husband, beautiful children, family and friends and I am loved. I have people I can pick up the phone and call when the going gets tough…and they help the tough stay going. It truly is a wonderful life, as flawed as some days feel; as hard as circumstances can sometimes be; I feel blessed to be surrounded by family and friends that I get to take it all in with.

And you readers, are another important part of my life. Having the privilege of writing to you and for you the past 10 years has been a joy and honor…even sometimes when I get off in Alice’s rabbit hole, I take comfort in knowing that someone out there is probably in the same rabbit hole and needs to hear from me. Thanks be to Cassie (and Maré) for calling me that day and asking me to write for this wonderful magazine…who would have ever dreamed of the success it would enjoy? Thank you to my readers, who send me the loveliest messages or stop me in the grocery store to tell me how much they enjoy reading my column. It gives me the energy to conjure up the next month’s “segment” and I look forward to it every month. So, until February, when there is really no telling what I’ll be writing about (or who…no one is really safe), I wish for you and your family the happiest, safest and most prosperous new year.

Cindy G. Foust is a wife, mom, author and blogger. You can find her blog at the alphabetmom.com for weekly columns about home life, parenting, small business stories and insight with a smidgen of literacy. Give her a like or follow on Facebook and Instagram.