I Choose Joy In The New Year!

Last updated: January 2022

Do you have a New Year's tradition that you follow? The custom is to eat black-eyed peas on New Year's Day in my area. The legend is that Southerns survived on black-eyed peas when they ran out of food during the Civil War. Those black-eyed peas kept my southern ancestors from starving to death, so it's no wonder we think of them as lucky!

New Year's traditions

People take their empty suitcases in Colombia and run around the block as fast as they can at midnight. The superstition is that your year will have lots of travel. There would be some puzzled folks in my neighborhood if I did this.

In Denmark, people stand on their chairs and "leap into January" at midnight to bring luck and banish evil spirits. It sounds like fun for young people. But, on the other hand, I might end up like the lady in those commercials, "I've fallen, and I can't get up!" (When you get older, there is nothing funny about falling.)

Since I don't feel up to running around the block or leaping from my chair, maybe I can list some goals for the new year.

Self-care is not selfish. Taking care of yourself is a good thing. Caregivers, pay attention. When you fly on an airplane, doesn't the flight attendant always say, "In the event of an emergency, please adjust your oxygen mask before assisting others"? You have to take care of yourself before you can help others.


Adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Have you ever noticed how bad you feel when you don't get enough sleep? As blood cancer patients, we have to make sleep a priority.


I have heard the expression, "When you eat nothing but junk food, you will feel like junk." So a good choice is to keep fresh fruit in the house. That way, a healthy snack is readily available.


When I tell my doctor that I am often tired, she asks, "Do you exercise?" Activity keeps us moving. Walk your dog, play with your kids, clean the house, do something! Pacing yourself and doing a little at a time is better than being a couch potato.

Quality friendships

Do you enjoy the company of your friends? It sounds like a silly question, I know. But, friends should encourage us and wish us well. Have you ever had a toxic friend? One who laughed at your ideas and talked about you behind your back? There is no need to make an announcement; mentally change their category from friend to acquaintance. You can't lose a friend you never had. When I am around someone negative, I feel negative. Toxic friends bring us down, and we can't have that.

My friend, Kathy Cleveland Black, wrote a song called, I Choose Joy.  Here is the chorus.

I choose joy in the morning when my day has just begun,
I choose joy in the middle of the day,
I choose joy in the evening when my body says I'm done,
I choose joy and I learn to overcome.1

Happy New Year!

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