Thinking about the past year, I realize that life is never perfect, but finding and appreciating the moments that brought me joy and delight this past year can be more than enough.
One of the highlights of my year was celebrating my girlfriend’s and my 60th birthday in the best way possible – surrounded by nature and best friends. We took three unforgettable girlfriend trips to Michigan, Florida, and San Diego, where we hiked, kayaked, laughed and indulged in homemade Moscow mules, good food and wine tastings. A rejuvenating experience that reminded me of the beauty of friendship and the importance of taking time for ourselves.
My girlfriends and I went on weekly walks at the Chicago Botanic Garden where we noticed the ever changing colors, aromas, and landscape of the gardens.
I enjoyed talking shop and catching up with my PT girlfriends from our days at Lutheran General Hospital over brunch, while exploring the Rockford Japanese Garden, and watching the Taylor Swift movie.
And let’s not forget the New Year’s tradition with my PT girlfriends and their husbands. For the 27th year in a row, we gathered together to welcome in the new year with love, laughter, and a deep sense of gratitude for the friendships that have stood the test of time.
Celebrated my 2 best friend’s son’s weddings – Jordan and Michelle Pfeifer, Ari and Cami Lazar Valencia – Mazel Tov!
In March, I had the privilege of taking my mom on her first travels since her health crisis in 2020. Thanks to my daughter Jenna’s generosity, we flew first class to West Palm Beach, staying with my mom’s sister and husband, where we enjoyed the beach, took nature walks, and watched Pretty Woman, the musical.
We then drove to Tampa to unite with my daughter and other family members including: my niece, Molly, who also lives in Tampa, my brother and sister in law, who now spend the winter there, and Drew and Steve flew in to join us as well. We created wonderful memories and my mom handled it all great!
On January 7, Steve, Jenna, Victoria’s mom, Debbie, and I met the newly engaged couple, Drew and Victoria, at the airport as they returned from Austria. It was a night of celebration, filled with sushi, steak, and plenty of laughter at Maple and Ash. A driver, courtesy of Jenna’s business client, picked us up in a Lincoln Navigator, then we picked up Debbie and headed to the airport where we surprised the couple with flowers, signs, balloons, and treats for the ride back into the city.
Summer was a season of exploration and adventure for Drew and Victoria. They continued their world travels, hiking in Slovenia and the Italian Dolomites, visiting Venice, and going on a mesmerizing cruise through the Fjords of Norway with Victoria’s family.
Jenna has been exceptionally busy growing her various businesses: healthcare business broker, consulting, and real estate investing. She organizes the women’s networking group, Boss Talks of Tampa, co-founded a non-for-profit networking group for entrepreneurs which had close to a 1,000 people show at their first gathering, and runs the annual fundraising event for The Spring of Tampa Bay. Jenna contributed a chapter to 2 books – Slaying Tampa Bay and Dream Big, do Bigger She has been written up in Tampa business publications and has been interviewed for a few podcasts. Her dedication and passion inspire me every day.
Victoria achieved personal milestones by running not one, but two marathons – in Chicago and Cincinnati. Her dedication, perseverance, and personal best in Chicago (finishing at 3:26) remind me of the incredible things we can accomplish when we set our minds to it.
I had the pleasure of experiencing the magic of Ravinia during our fabulous Chicago summer: The music of Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon performed by the CSO filled my heart with nostalgia and joy; seeing Jason Mraz and his band put a smile on my face; and was mesmerized by the exceptionally talented Brandi Carlisle.
I enjoyed numerous live theater productions: Once, Pretty Woman, Pippin, The Buddy Holly Story, Beautiful (for the third time) and Manual Cinema’s Christmas Carol.
After being away from the movie theater since 2019, I returned to watch films celebrating women’s stories: “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret,” “Barbie,” and “The Taylor Swift Eras concert.”
Over the past year, I became engrossed in countless stories that captured my imagination and inspired me. Some of my favorites were Tom Lake, Demon Copperhead, My Dinners with Ruth, Remarkably Bright Creatures, and of course, The Book of Delights which sparked my own journey of finding joy in everyday moments.
With so much television to choose from to watch, these were some of my favorites: The Bear, Somebody Somewhere, The Morning Show, The Reluctant Traveler, Abbott Elementary, Somebody Feed Phil, and Fisk. If you have a chance, check them out!
Big Things In Business
Professionally, I dedicated myself to furthering my PT education. I took various classes: Graded Motor Imagery for treating chronic pain; Treatment for the Pelvic Floor: and advanced classes on the OOV, including a Balansit class, which is a new device by the creator of the OOV.
I had the opportunity to share my knowledge and expertise by giving 7 webinars to the Northbrook YMCA community on natural pain healing and also teaching PTA students about running at Oakton Community College. Most recently, I gave my first interview to Tenille Hoogland for the “Athletic Women Thriving in Perimenopause and Beyond” summit. It has been a year of growth and sharing my passion for holistic health.
Amidst all the busyness this year, I made sure to take time for the simple delights that bring me joy. Here are some of the delightful experiences I had this past year inspired by the Book of Delights by Ross Gay:
- Winning a pair of Allbirds shoes! I was one of the first 100 responders to an email sent out to all the initial Kickstarter supporters.
- Watching dozens of incredible hummingbirds darting around the purple salvia at the Botanic Garden.
- Looking at the beautiful creek outside the Northbrook library windows.
- Hugging all the neighborhood dogs and cuddling with my friend’s and son’s dogs.
- Watching the robust fall colors emerge.
- Discovering new flowers at the Botanic Garden.
- Making chicken soup.
- Walking in the first snowfall at the Botanic Garden with Jenna and my girlfriends.
- Watching Kelvin Kiptum break the world record to win the Chicago marathon in 2 hours and 35 seconds.
- Enjoying the different flora at the San Diego Botanical Garden.
As the year comes to an end, I want to express gratitude to my family and friends, especially my remarkable mother, for their unwavering support and love. They have been my rock and my guiding light throughout the past year.
May you have an exceptional year of finding delights, great health, joy, and peace