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    5 words for 2013: What well wishes for the new year mean to one grandma

    For the past couple of weeks, many of the emails I've received—and sent—start or end with wishes for the new year. Most often it's been something along the lines of the straightforward Happy New Year to you and yours! Or perhaps a Best wishes for peace, prosperity and success!

    I appreciate the well wishes, and I hope those to whom I offer them do as well, for I do say them in all sincerity despite how generic such sentiments may seem.

    We all use basically the same words for the good tidings—how many ways, really, are there for offering up New Year's greetings?—yet I'm pretty sure the meaning for each of us on the receiving end is quite different.

    Here is what the oft-used words mean to me, specifically in relation to 2013:

    To me, happiness is so relative. It can depend on how fat I might feel at any particular time; how much I have on my to-do list or how much free time I have to do something I enjoy; if Jim helps with the dishes or not; when I'll get to see my grandsons again; and on and on and on. One day may be a happy one and the next not so much. Heck, it's often that way from minute to minute, not just day to day, depending on how many hot flashes I experience in those minutes.

    So instead of expecting to have a happy year, with heaps of happiness from beginning to end, I prefer to focus more on joy. Even in the very worst of times, the deepest and darkest moments, I can and usually do feel joy, have joy, experience joy. Joy, in contrast to happiness, doesn't depend on exterior influences; it's something deep inside and I'm fortunate to have it, regardless of how happy or unhappy I may be at any given time. I'm pretty sure I won't have a completely happy new year regardless of how many folks wish that for me. I will, though, have a year filled with joy, which is good enough for me.

    Another very relative term, as there's only so much one can do to work toward peace throughout the world. Peace for me personally would be the peace in knowing everything is going to be okay. With my family, my finances, my goals. Despite having the joy I mentioned above, I'm not an incredibly peaceful person. I'm worried about this or that more often than not, and usually have to force myself to breathe deep and just let go of the fear and trembling, inside and out. I want peace, welcome peace, so this is an especially appreciated wish for the coming year.

    Ah, prosperity. I'm pretty sure that peace I long for would be so much easier to come by if only my wishes of prosperity were to come true. I know, I know—money does not buy happiness. But it definitely would help me stop worrying about the lack of it, the focus of which has consumed more than a fair share of the past few years.

    There are so, so many ways I'm striving to succeed this year, so I'll take all the wishes for success I can get. To me, success takes the form of simply being better in most of my current pursuits, which may or may not mean there will be financial gain attached. I want to succeed at being a better—and traditionally published—writer. I want to succeed at being a better blogger, moving beyond the plateau I've found myself on. I want to succeed at being a better wife, mother, grandmother, friend—including being a better friend to myself, the person on whom I'm most hard. I want to succeed at reading more, singing more, traveling more, taking better photos. I want to succeed at fitting in some time on the piano again and succeed at losing a few—no, many—pounds. Yes, I want success—my idea of success.

    This one would be far easier if I'd lose those pounds mentioned above. Sure, I want to look better, but more so, I want to feel better, and that would start with shedding the extra weight. My bloggy friend Chloe recently mentioned that we in mid-life and beyond need to exercise as if our life depends on it—because our life literally does depend on it, especially in terms of the degree to which we'll enjoy the rest of our life. I'm taking her advice to heart and plan to exercise more and eat better for the sake of achieving better health in 2013. Bonus for doing so? I will likely look better in 2013—and beyond—too.

    Bottom line
    To all who have wished me any of the above, I offer sincere thanks. And to each and every one of you reading this, I sincerely wish you joy, peace, prosperity, success, and good health in 2013—in whatever ways those words personally matter and mean the most to you.

    graphic: stock.xchng

    Today's question:

    Of the words mentioned above, which do you most wish for in 2013?

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    Reader Comments (14)

    Health. If I can feel good, everything else seems easier.

    January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPammeey

    I think peace and joy are tied together for me. Without them, the others are never enough. With them, the others don't matter so much.

    January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGinger Kay

    Peace. But I want it more for the world and our nation than for myself. I am a pretty peaceful person who is so tired of hate speech, tired of watching the news where women like us who weren't lucky enough to be born here live in countries where going to the market means taking your life in your hands. I keep thinking we will get our act together but I've been waiting since the 60s. I thought we would have made more progress....

    January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGrandma Kc

    Joy is what I want most to feel; actually, to have joy, I have to have all the others. I would need to see all those things for my grown children for me to feel that I were successful at having raised them correctly.

    January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

    Health. I'm in pretty good health but I know that to sustain it I need to eat right and be active. And not just for a few weeks but as a way of life. One day at a time I'm trying to create new habits!

    January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBLissed-Out Grandma

    For me, I am hoping 2013 will bring me better health. 2012 brought me some sweet successes, yet my health was not one of them. My arthritis and back issues have escalated, even after losing weight and trying very hard to exercise regularly, I'm hoping to work with a specialist this year in order to improve these problems. My number two preference on your list would be Happiness. I would be lost without it.

    Excellent post, Lisa!

    January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTerri Sonoda

    I would love to say a combo,like a healthy peaceful being. But if I had to choose only one, I'd say health. Without it the others don't matter. With it, you have endless possibilities for peace, joy, prosperity and success which all will point the way toward happiness.

    Good health. Without good health for yourself and your family, I'm afraid the rest is hard to accomplish. I witnessed that first hand in 2012 and am hopeful 2013 will be better. Good health to your family and all of your readers.

    January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJudy@grandparentsplus2

    Lisa, I couldn't pull one from the bunch as a top star. They're all so important. Loved the clarification and distinctions you made in each. So agree with what you said about success, that "simply being better in most of my current pursuits" is an apt definition, as is your determination to be a better friend to yourself, the person you're most hard on. Me too. I'll give everyone else a break and often beat myself up - often subconsciously. I"m learning to thank myself at the end of the day for all that I accomplished. Even on days when (and this is very, very rare) I curl up for a few hours in the grey winter light and read. Just luxuriously read. Those are days when I need to thank myself for that joy and peace. I wish you all these this year. Back at ya!

    January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

    I find it difficult to focus on the good stuff when I don't feel good, or if I'm worried about the health of a loved health.

    January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNonnieKelly

    Health, for my family and me. Happy New Year, Lisa, and I wish you all of the above, with great sincerity.

    January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPamela

    I would like to personally embrace the advice I so often give my daughters when they face a challenge: just take one day at a time. When the future is cut down to one 24 hour period (with a third of it spent asleep anyway!) that slashes the worrying down to a managable amount. The girls have said it worked for them - now I have to begin taking my own advice. It has been said that most of what we do worry about never comes to pass - and petitions to Our Lord can also change what looks like an inevitable bad outcome!
    I loved reading this post, Lisa! And yes...Happy New Year to you - in every sense of the sentiment!

    January 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

    Happy New Year!! I enjoyed reading about your 2013 goals. Have a wonderful day!!

    January 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWholeHearted Home

    I REALLY like the idea of looking forward to moments of joy. That is so true, in the darkest days there will be that moment, like a gold coin in the mud. Here;s to Joy in the New Year.

    January 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
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