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by Dave Friant

January thru March. The first trimester of any stretch (maternal pun intended) climate-wise is arguably the years’ least favorite, with most of July and all of August a close sweltering second. Even Valentine’s Day with specialty chocolate for the Mrs. crammed into the middle of it, February for this key-stroker is the most intolerable 4 weeks of the 12 months. A heaping helping of artic blasts typically find their way to our area; contrary to the desires of most who take up residency below the Mason-Dixon line. Temps hovered around the mid-20’s or so degree mark for too many days as DFW-ians bundled up to make life bearable. Freezing hitchhikers were forced to only hold up pictures of thumbs. Squirrels in the park tossing themselves onto electric fences for supposed warmth.

Local meteorologists took command of our daily lives as cars were cranked and hesitantly driven way too often on iced-over highways. Nothing close to graceful characterized our baby steps as we managed to navigate driveways and sidewalks during “wintry mix” precipitations. Mailbox excursions and handling trashcan-on- the-curb duties were a sight to be seen – worthy of submission to America’s Funniest Home Videos. We made headway on some backslidden reading goals and chowed down on homemade chili with beans. There were some resulting gastro-related impacts (cheap effort for a laugh) which created havoc for our Aussie and the infrequent dinner guest.

Inconveniences as we trudge on with senior adulthood. Doctoring the ills. Handling the elements of positivity in a mixed-up world. Recalled is the William Bendix phrase, “What a revoltin’ development this is” in the 1950’s Life of Riley television show.

For sports enthusiasts like me, memories of the televised Daytona 500 and Super Bowl LVII (with my beloved Eagles spreading their wings and putting up a game [pun intended] fight to the end) made the 90 days tolerable. The “could be our year” enthusiasm of major leaguers heading to spring training, and the marvel of March Madness with “who would have thought” Cinderella teams causing upsets, lifted spirits.

Alllllrightee then! Springtime 2023. Treacherous as they were, old man Winter simply ran out of runways. Warmer temps and the greening of dormant vegetation assigned earlier to nature’s ICU have arrived. Navigating walking trails without gloves and abandoning the layered Michelin Man look will again be refreshing. Cheering for the Stars in their Stanley Cup playoff run. Watching at least two legs of the Triple Crown and the “high falutin” guests in the stands sipping their specialty drinks. Listening to the soothing voice of Jim Nantz as Mcilroy and Spieth walk the immaculate grounds at The Masters. Such are some visual highlights to assist with lawn mowing recovery efforts. Absolute Heaven for sports nuts.

Welcomed attire changes add to the excitement of sipping sweet iced tea on the back patio. Bring out the tighter-than-usual powder blue Texas Rangers shirt that still has noticeable evidence of last year’s mustard spillage. Into the bottom of my chest of drawers goes the 4 pairs of sweats that took center stage during the winter months. Out comes a variety of shorts; varied in color with the majority being at least half a decade old. As determined by the lady in our home, those with no longer effective elastic waists are Goodwill-bound or have been assigned for bummin’ around activities. The more presentable pairs get the nod for mall-walking, movie-going, and gatherings with friends and family.

As is the case each year, I’m pledging once again to incorporate needed adjustments within my life. Manageable goals. Doables designed to help both physically and mentally. The first few involve tangibles. Easy to quantify and monitor. Consuming less non-healthy foods and exercising more will take center stage in these areas. A much smaller hunk of that 72% cacao Ghirardelli dark chocolate bar before bedtime. Not skimping on the drinking of at least four (4) 28-ounce glasses of water daily. Walking at least 20 minutes per day at more than a 3-toed sloth’s pace.

Intentions this year additionally include the handling of some less verifiable reflective assignments. Matters not able to be noted on the scorecard. No more dodging the matters which have impacts on legacies. While on my own personal plate for consideration, I suspect they are also applicable to most of the general public. Additives to an occasionally smoldering dumpster fire.

Gratitude takes top-billing. Taking inventory of the blessings of life and being appreciative is healthy. As noted by best-selling author Max Lucado, “Thankful people focus less on what they lack and more on what they have.”

Still in the playoff picture is the importance of being apologetic for wrongful behavior. It’s by no means an indicator of weakness. How relieving it is to say, “I’m sorry.” In his book Look Into the Stillness, author Donald Hicks suggests, “When you forgive, you free one soul. But when you say I’m sorry, you free two souls.”

The first unsavory portion of the new year for many has come and gone. Past tense. Winter has knocked us to the canvas. But again, we’ve risen to our collective feet before being counted out. While more challenging of a task, securing solid seating on the horse again is of benefit to ourselves and to others around us.

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