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Things I'm Going To Care A Whole Lot More About In 2018

For one thing, my husband and I have been coasting along on autopilot for far too long.

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aarp, the girlfriend, skiing, snowboarding, winter sports, snowball fight, best friends
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The Quality of My Friendships Instead of the Quantity
Facebook can make anyone, myself included, feel way more popular than they really are in actual existence by lumping every type of social connection into a single “friend” basket, even if it’s a one-night stand from decades ago. I’ve grown tired, though, of the growing addiction to amassing people — or “likes.” I want to pay more attention to my IRL friends who make an effort, who listen, who show up through all of my peaks and valleys when I need them, even if it’s inconvenient. For me, these are the friends who are willing to rip off my rose-colored glasses and speak the truth, when it’s in my best interests. I recently had a good friend tell me that I seriously should lose a few pounds. Once I picked my jaw up off the floor, I realized she was really and truly making an honest attempt to help. I may be able to count them on only one hand, but the friends I’m paying more attention to in 2018 are the supportive ones who won’t let me rest on my laurels. They nudge me to do better. To be better.

The Quality of My Marriage
My husband and I have been married 25 years and have three children. To be blunt, we’ve been coasting along on autopilot for far too long. Unlike the fairy tales we were weaned on, romantic love always runs the risk of fading, even in the fittest of relationships. I fear my husband and I have fallen into the trap of taking each other for granted, which is often the first step on the lengthy, heartbreaking road to marital collapse. Even worse, I worry we've started taking each other's satisfaction in the marriage for granted. Somewhere along the way, that lingering kiss we used to enjoy at the end of a long day morphed into a chaste peck on the forehead that — more recently — morphed into barely a look up from the computer and a mumbled hello. To me, daily affection and communication are a marriage’s superglue. But that note of admiration I used to have in my voice whenever I talked about my spouse? I haven't heard it in awhile. In my case, I’ve stopped acknowledging the little things my husband does for me. And he does a lot. This has to change.

The Quality of My Empty Nest
Ask anyone who knows me. I have two college-age kids and one high school senior set to leave for college in the fall. Every late August — and every mid-January — I fall into a deep funk when I have to bid farewell to my oldest two. A really deep funk. I find myself lying awake at night, trying to conjure up memories of my kids’ first steps, first words, birthday parties, choral concerts, that time my oldest tried unsuccessfully to teach my youngest piano. The harsh reality is — it’s all becoming a bit fuzzy. And that makes me sad. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being blue when your kids leave home. But it’s time to get excited about my (nearly) empty nest. I’ve read that empty-nest syndrome is a process with three distinct stages: grief, relief, then joy. I need to do a better job of zipping past the grief and relief and embracing the joy, as well as the realization that I have a whole second half of my life left to live. And I want to live it well.