Dear 2011, Good Riddance: I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad to say good-bye to a year… and I know I am not alone. For me, 2011 was a year of challenges… major changes, health issues, family crisis, financial woes, worker’s comp and disability, heartbreak and ever changing environments.
Mostly, it was a year of being in limbo. I didn’t spend much time at home in Benicia due to family obligations. I camped out at my folks house a lot while caring for them. I feel like I spent the whole year living out of a backpack, hauling my things around with me like a gypsy.
My parents health ailments reached the boiling point in the last month, challenging my sister and I to a marathon of wrangling their care, personal affairs and finances.
It wasn’t all bad… 2001 was a year of travel, music, making new friends, renewing old friendships and receiving an unbelievable amount of support and generosity from them all. For that, I am truly grateful.
2012- The End is Near: According to the Mayan calender, 2012 is the end… the end of what, nobody knows. I am hopeful that it’s the end of pain, misery, misfortune and disappointment.
I am ready for a fresh start. I’ve decided that 2012 is going to be the year of taking care of myself… my body, my spirit and my soul. Many friends have offered me a retreat, so don’t be surprised if I take you up on it.
I’ve successfully placed my Mom and Dad in elder-care homes. I found them each safe, affordable places that can meet their individual needs. It’s a huge weight off my shoulders, my back and my mind. I know they will be better cared for. It will also allow my sister to return to her family in Japan.
My disability benefits were decreased so I am learning to live on less than $1000 a month. The affordable solution is to move into my parent’s house at the end of January. I will renovate the house in preparation to sell in a couple of years. I loving having a project… step one will be an estate sale this month.
That also means, the Biscuit and I will finally have a place we can call home. The Biscuit will have a room to himself… the first time since we moved from Pacific Grove 14 months ago. It will be good for both us.
I am also addressing my physical pain. Although my work injury (shoulder) still causes me chronic pain, I am halfway through the rehab treatment of my neck. I am hopeful we’ll see the results on the X-ray. Because I am losing my health benefits this month, I am considering forfeiting disability to search for a new job that won’t aggravate my injury.
I’ve learned a lot about elder care, retirement funds, power of attorney (POA), escrow, social security and family trusts. That’s a good thing because the job of caring for my parents is far from over. As the POA, I am responsible for making their financial nest egg last as long is as needed for their care.
Overall, I am feeling hopeful for a year that doesn’t suck. I have lofty goals for myself but I am feeling inspired, with a fresh dose of motivation.