Another year. So much has happened and so much is yet to come.
Today marks the eve of the first day of another 365, another ring around the sun, another year. I tend to get a bit sentimental over yearly occurrences. It may seem odd, but I remember the exact date of my mom’s first chemotherapy treatment that occurred 14 years ago now. I am unable to let that day pass by each year without sending her some sort of message of love and gratitude that she is still here. The celebration of another year, another chance, another opportunity can be refreshing and uplifting, or it can be the exact opposite.
We all hear the “Live like there’s no tomorrow,” sort of quotes tossed around rather nonchalantly sometimes. We know what these sayings suggest and maybe for a few minutes or so we really do live it up, but do we really live our days like this may be our last? Or do we take advantage of the general thought that, hey, there’s always tomorrow. I know I’m guilty of it, very guilty. Sure we know not the day or the hour, but we often pass time like we have all of it and more. What does it really mean to live like there’s no tomorrow? What does that life look like? Do we even get what the concept means?
Today, I am looking to the beginning of the next chapter, the first day of the next year of my life. I anticipate that another 365 are in my future, and surely that may very well be the case. From where I am sitting though, there is one and only one blank page in front of me. I have this second, this moment, this day to fill up the blank page. So what will I do today?
I can’t promise that I will live each day like tomorrow doesn’t exist. If I did so, it would probably include a bit of overindulgence, a sort of last supper mentality. That sort of mind set seems selfish and gluttonous to me. No, that’s not what I want. Instead, I will live my day as I would like to be remembered when I am no longer here. I will fill this blank page with my own footprint that will be left on the hearts of those I love for years and years to come. That is what I want. I want to pen the next chapter of my life with intention, compassion, gratitude and more. So then, when the last of my blank pages is filled, there will be no regret because I have loved and lived.
Ok, so that was a bit heavy for sure. Let’s lighten things up a bit. So I’m not living today like it’s my last. I’m living today as I hope to make my mark on this world. How will I do that? I have a few things in mind for starters.
1. I will be grateful, and not just on Thanksgiving. It’s so easy to get caught up in what is lacking that we lose sight of our abundance of gifts in life. This past year, I got sucked into this a lot. I was so consumed by the loss of our baby that I failed at times to see the true beauty of what surrounded me. I didn’t fully recognize the blessing of the amazing support system of friends, family, coworkers and more who held me up when I had fallen. When bad things happen to us, gratitude is often left at the door. Today, I will try to find the gifts hidden in obstacles and adversity.
2. I will savor things. As always, I am in a hurry or rush to move onto what is next. I don’t even know what’s going on right in front of me because I am so focused on what is to come. Sometimes I don’t take the time to enjoy and taste my food because my attention is elsewhere. No more, not today. I will savor my time, the people around me, each experience so that things won’t just pass me by.
3. I will do it now. I am really good at putting the saying “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?” to life. While I am really good at pulling through in a time crunch, I don’t want to fill this blank page with a bunch of rough scribbles of nonsense because I haven’t taken the time to get things done. If I get the work done now then I will have time today to complete number 2 on my list and savor the really special moments.
4. I will give. I will give time to those I love. I will give attention to those who need it. I will stop focusing so much on me and start giving to those around me. This can be as simple as a smile, a hug, a laugh, a dollar, etc. The real focus today is not what can I get out of it, but what can I give to it, to you, to them. This will be a work in progress, but if there’s a way I want to be remembered, it’s not for being selfish.
5. I will breathe. I won’t just take a breath. I will inhale and exhale, inhale and exhale, inhale and exhale. I will fill up and empty out. I will be aware of this energy, this life, this time, this moment. The easiest way to become aware of this very moment, is to breathe mindfully. If there is one thing we take for granted it is the power of the breath. It’s so automatic that we rarely recognize that it’s happening. What’s the first thing we do in times of anger or unease? We hold our breath. When we do so, what often follows is something we regret. So today, I will stop that cycle by just breathing. Sounds so easy, but it’s not at all. I may need to remind myself over and over, but I will do it.
I think that I am off to a good start on filling up this new clean sheet. Sure it won’t be perfection and I may have a few bumps in my day, but this is what I have. I may have another 365 blank pages to be filled in but each new day will be page one. Today, how will I leave my mark? What will I do to leave my imprint? How will I fill up this blank page so that someday, someone will want to go back and read it.
Ok, let’s take some time in the kitchen. I said I was going to savor things today, and this recipe is worth savoring. I have been working on granola bars recently, but every time I bake them, they come out dry or flavorless. I thought I would go ahead and try my hand at a no bake bar and see if the results would be better. I am definitely happy to share this new recipe with you. These are a bit like the no bake peanut butter bites I make but adjustments were made to amounts of ingredients so that the bar would hold together better. These take about 5 minutes to put together and are full of protein. This recipe can be easily modified to add some of your favorite granola bar add ins. Use this as a base, but the possibilities are endless! Enjoy!
No Bake Clean Eating Granola Bars
1 1/4 c rolled oats (regular or gluten free)
1/2 cup natural peanut butter or almond butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c pure maple syrup
2 T honey
1/2 cup coconut (shredded or flaked)
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup flax meal
Optional add ins: dark chocolate chips, dried cranberries, raisins, pecans, etc.
1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Fold in optional add ins if desired.
2. Press into a baking pan or dish. I used a 6×8 Pyrex dish as I wanted mine to be nice and thick.
3. Let chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Cut and serve.