Have a Sweet ’16!

Do you remember turning 16? For many young people, it is a milestone age -- maybe even one that comes with that magical ticket-to-ride: a driver's license! At any rate, hopefully it is a happy memory for you: a time when you were still carefree, but old enough to enjoy some newfound independence.

While we might not ever be able to fit into those cute flares we had back then, there's no reason why the year 2016 can't be just as celebratory. One idea is to mark each month with a milestone that you will always associate with that moment of this year: whether it's learning a new hobby, taking a trip or tackling a long-put-off goal.

Here are some thought starters so you can begin to plan your momentous super sweet '16.

January: Create your calendar. Start the year by filling in the 12 things you are looking forward to – one for each month. Perhaps there's a family wedding in the spring, a class reunion in summer: these things can be the framework for your year. Next, make your own event for any month that doesn't already have one -- and start planning the fun-filled holiday letter that you will be able to send next December!

February: If you have a mid-winter trip planned to the islands, well, that's just awesome. If not, taking up a new fitness routine is the perfect thing to give yourself a February boost. It can be something low-impact like tai chi, walking an indoor track, or water aerobics, or more intense, like a C25K program, cross fit or cross country skiing. Choose the program that best fits your goals and lifestyle and you can transform February from ho-hum to life-changing.

March: Some celebrate the fourth day of March as a day to "march forth" with their dreams. If you've ever wanted to start a little side business or learn a foreign language, this is the day for you to stop dreaming and start doing.

April: Since this month starts off with a gag (April Fool's Day), it's a great reminder to find the humor in everything. It may seem impossible when you are dealing with serious life issues, like the illness of a loved one, but there truly are moments of lightness in everything – all you have to do is make up your mind to find them. For inspiration, watch a film like Life is Beautiful or The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio.

May: Growing your own food and flowers is not only relaxing, healthful and inexpensive, it empowers you to nourish and beautify your world. You can start small, with a container or community garden, and watch your love of gardening grow from there.

June: Everyone deserves a summer vacation – even if it's only a weekend getaway. If you are caring for an aging loved one, you may need to arrange for respite care so you can get a few days away, but the chance to recharge your batteries is more than worth it.

July: Spend the month revisiting the summer activities you loved as a kid: nightly trips to the ice cream stand, taking in a baseball game and maybe a couple hours "gone fishin'" are some of the simple pleasures of summer that we tend to forget, but love to revisit.

August: Most cities sponsor summer evenings such as free concerts and outdoor movies. Before the season passes you by, make a point to pack a picnic dinner, invite some friends to join you and have a fun summer night on the town.

September: It's back-to-school time! Why not sign up to learn something new in a local adult education class? You can make a long-term commitment to pursue a degree or certificate or just take classes that interests you and will enrich your life.

October: If it's been years since you've attended a Halloween party, why not host your own? You can encourage everyone to dress according to a theme or just let them freestyle the perfect costume. A crockpot full of pulled pork or chicken and slider buns makes the food easy, while a DIY bloody Mary bar adds the Halloween spirits.

November: Since this is the month when we count our blessings, it's a great and time to set aside time for quiet reflection. Consider taking a mindfulness or meditation workshop, or join a prayer group. The more you are able to live in the moment, the more fully you will appreciate each one of them.

December: Choose a special gift that you can make yourself: whether it's crocheting a blanket or making a quilt for a loved one, baking things for neighbors and co-workers, or taking up a paintbrush and creating a masterpiece. During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, this may offer you some time for quiet reflection and your loved one will truly treasure your gift from the heart.

For more information about living a rich life while facing aging and caregiving issues, please contact us!


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