Musings on culture from Valerie Hawkins

Healthy New Year 2013!

Val Hawkins
Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 was a great many things, but, chief among them, for me, and likely a great deal of you reading this--? 2012 was stressful.

Not that I didn't have enjoyable moments in 2012. I thankfully reached a milestone of years at my job. I unexpectedly sold my old used car and purchased a newer used car. I'm newly responsible for an older cat -- is it really still pet-sitting if it's for six months (and really nine, so far)? And we're going to have President Barack Obama for the next four years, instead of that gentleman who didn't really want the job -- according to his son, anyway.

But not a one of these was a walk in the park, either.

What is really propelling me toward the "starting over" we always embrace at the beginning of the new year is the chance to take stock of my health. I'm feeling fine now. But the writing is on the wall. Over 35. Over-weight. Over the normal blood pressure but just shy of high blood pressure. Mix all that together with medications that can take down healthy people -- read "A stroke, at 30 — a Sun-Times reporter’s personal story" by Monifa Thomas -- and a genetic soup of diabetes and high blood pressure, and, yeah, "feeling fine" seems to be on borrowed time.

I'm hoping to leave a lot of the stress of 2012 in 2012. 2013 will likely bring its own stresses and it's probably better to start the year as close to zero as possible. This calls for more pauses. And less wearied rushing. And resting -- really resting.

Because there are signs. And it can all be gone in a flash. And sometimes you just don't know what's going to happen.

Have a happy -- and healthy -- 2013!

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