In Which Trina Further Discusses Her Year of Joy And What She’s Learned So Far…
By Trina O’Quinn for the NABBW
I ended my last blog stating that I was going to use the following prompts to set my year of Joy. I hope that they helped you in January and February as they have me.
Prompt #1: “What are you most proud of from 2022?
Both my daughter (56 years old) and I were with my mother when she took her last breath here on earth. When I put her in the hospital in late December 2021, I was afraid that she would die alone before my daughter and eldest granddaughter (25) would be able to get to California from Washington State. They made it and were able to spend some quality time with her before she left earth. On the day she died my daughter, and I were at the hospital in her final moments. We were able to say goodbye, tell her that we loved her, and knew that she was surrounded with love.
At my granddaughter’s second anniversary and ceremony to renew her vows, I presented her and her husband with a double wedding ring quilt.
Amanda, the eldest daughter of my next-door neighbor, Diane, came with her newborn daughter, Charlotte, for a visit, and I was able to give her a newly handmade baby quilt.
For Christmas I finished and gave two of the young girls embroidered pictures for their walls. I did all of this while letting myself grieve my mother in my own way throughout the year.
Prompt #2: “What were some of my biggest Challenges in 2022?
My mother’s death in January and reentering my social life after two years of isolation were big challenges. Also, honoring all the milestones for the year without her presence: such as her Birthday, Mother’s Day, my Birthday, Christmas, etc. She was just short of 98 when she died, and I was 76.
These milestones helped me grow by helping me understand what is important in my life. The events slowed me down so that my feelings were able to catch up with me. I was able to think about my own health and how much activity I wanted in my life.
This period and the events that happened helped me realize that selfcare is a balance of quietude and movement. I learned that asking for help when needed was Self-Care. I was able to Reflect, Remember, Rest, Recharge, Refocus, Resolve and Be Curious. By doing so I have been stretching the limits of my body, mind and spirt.
I have realized that peace brings me joy and joy comes before happiness. Joy can co-exist with sadness, happiness cannot. This has been my biggest spiritual growth in 2022.
Prompt #3: “How have you changed over the last year? How can you celebrate this new version of yourself?”
One of the changes within me over the past year is that I feel a sense of joy and peace no matter where I am or what I am doing. I have accepted that I am good enough and I am no longer chasing perfectionism. I have accepted and am enjoying what I do when I’m doing it.
I have set goals, and the joy comes in the journey not the destination, even though that can be fun too. I accept that I’m a person oriented around process, and it is in the process when I experience Joy.
I can celebrate this new version of me by letting myself be and focusing on the new growth. I can do more of what gives me joy and let go of what does not.
While 2022 was a difficult year for me, it moved me forward and allowed me to regain hopes and dreams.
I am learning seemingly simple things, such as it is ok to nap in the middle of the day. It is ok to rest. Doing nothing is really resting. I have given myself permission to daydream and sometimes I even write down the thoughts and inspirations that come from that time when I am detached from the external world. Most importantly 2022 brought me and my husband closer together and taught me once again to breathe with awareness.
I hope you have found these prompts to be effective in stimulating meaningful thoughts, feelings, and musings within yourself.
As you can see, they helped me navigate the challenges and experiences of 2022, and move into 2023 with joy and renewed hope.
Before she retired, Trina O’Quinn was an actively licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Entering the profession as an older adult, Trina was in private practice for 30 years. During her career she was a lecturer at California University Dominguez Hills in the Marital and Family Therapy Program, where she supervised many students and mentored many associates.
Now retired from counseling, Trina keeps busy enjoying needle arts, reading, Journaling and writing, as well as singing with a women’s chorus, peer networking, volunteering at a senior living center and reconnecting with old friends.