TDSCF0194After all the hypes about the Mayan Apocalypse further dramatized by Hollywood, the world we live in remains in tact and life goes on. If nothing else, the end of the world prophecies should serve as a reminder to each of us that some day our life on this earth will end and therefore we should make the best of everyday and live to the fullest.

A brand new year is ahead of us. I have stopped making New Year resolutions years ago. First of all they usually don’t last till the end of January and secondly things tend to change quickly and unexpectedly which requires one to be flexible. But if I have any control over the future, in 2013 I’ll continue to do the things that have contributed to my well-being and happiness: strengthen family relationships and friendships, exercise regularly to take care of my body which is linked to the brain and the nervous system that in the final analysis determine happiness and unhappiness, keep on exploring, writing and sharing my life experience.

In a couple of months, my memoir LET GO will be published. Not sure if anyone other than my family and close friends will care to read it. But writing it freed me from the pain and struggles that had captivated me most of my life. It is well worth a whole year’s hard work. I am researching and gathering ideas for the second book Joe and I will co-author.

2013 will also see our younger daughter Michelle leaving her nest for college. Early action applications haven’t yielded the results she expected. Michelle withdrew to her room for a couple of days. When she reappeared, there weren’t that many words but lots of tears. Then Jane came home for winter break. She dragged Michelle to go grocery shopping with her. After they came back, Michelle was her normal self again, laughing, talking and joking. I asked her what her next steps would be. She said she would apply for more school during the holiday break and see what happens. So we won’t know for sure where she will end up with until springtime. However it sounded like she was only applying to prove that she could get in because none of these schools she really had the heart for. If that is the case, the decision is clear to Joe and me. But Michelle needs to go through the process and reach her own decision and we’ll support her all the way.

Jake is going through a tricky stage in which he is becoming more sensitive about others’ perception of him and thus going through lots of mood swings. Joe and I talked to him the other day about how getting upset didn’t really help anything. Instead it’d be wise to ask for help when he has trouble with the workbooks or putting his Lego sets together. To develop the desired behavior in him, we have restarted the point system. Every time when things don’t go right, instead of getting mad, if Jake comes to us and ask for help, he’ll get three points. If he becomes mad but is able to quickly adjust his mood and receive help, two points will be awarded. We also discussed computer usage for the two-week winter break. Jake is aware that too much time on computer games is neither good for his brain and nor helping his mood, and so he is encouraged again with points to exert self-control and stop promptly whenever his computer time is up. Jake went with us to a wedding ceremony and reception yesterday. During the four and a half hours, he didn’t ask for Joe’s phone, not even once although he was the only child at our table and there was a very long waiting period for the food to come. A few times I was tempted to hand him the phone just to relieve him of the boredom. But I am glad I didn’t.

One thing that is missing from my life right now is being associated with a group that works for the welfare of others. So in 2013, I’ll try to make a commitment to at least one charitable organization and to contributions in meaningful ways.

There are bigger social and political issues that’ll impact my small world. The ‘fiscal cliff’ crisis calls for our nation’s leaders to work together and reach a solution. Gun violence has brought the world to an end for twenty small children in Newtown Conn. In 2013, we the citizens have to get involved in the gun control debate and demand reform so that military style weapons will no longer be easily accessible. NCR advocates to arm the whole nation “Every good guy should have a gun’ so that the gun industry can keep on growing and making more money. But we all know that it is pure nonsense. Others argue that mental health, violent computer games and movies are to blame. It’s clear that the common denominator for all the public shootings is the gun and we have no choice but to address the issue and ensure our children’s safety and the safety of America.

If history can predict future, 2013 will be another challenging year globally and individually. Although there is no guarantee about tomorrow, each of us has a choice about how to live today.