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Travis: New Years realizations
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The holiday season is over. For the last two months, all I have been doing is making lists. The need for a list usually hits me in the morning when I am sitting at my kitchen table and drinking my morning cup of tea. I have a whole day ahead of me and I try to organize what I need to do for the day. I can't keep as many trains of thought going in my mind as I once could, and I need written reminders. I make lists of the lists. I write on the closest thing at hand, a paper towel. I have scraps of paper towels in every coat pocket and in all nooks and crannies of my pocketbook. Sometimes I blow my nose on one of my lists.

These lists are of presents needing to be purchased or wrapped, things that need to be decorated, decorations to be purchased, food to be purchased or cooked and events I need to attend which require my bringing food and what food I need to prepare for the event. Now I need to clean out my pockets and pocketbook and get rid of all the lists.

Wordsworth said, "The world is too much with us; late and soon, / Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers." Wordsworth was telling us to pay attention to nature, but his observation certainly applies to the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. We need to pay less attention to the accoutrements of the season and more to the celebration of love the season should entail. I, for one, think I was so busy getting ready for everything that when the actual day came, I was too tired to enjoy it. I was fighting a bad case of near-flu during the days after Christmas when my Macon contingent was with me.

I'm not one for New Year's resolutions because I never keep them. However, I am going to try next year to realize my limitations. I cannot do what I have done in the past, and I do not need to. The world will not come to an end if everything is not decorated as it used to be. No one will notice if there are four or five fewer items on the Christmas dinner table.

What they will notice, and what is more important, is that I spend time with my children and grandchildren, family and friends, enjoying their company. A granddaughter will not remember what she had to eat for a holiday meal as much as she will remember her grandmother spending time with her and teaching her how to use the sewing machine. Simplifying my holiday routines will leave me happier and healthier.

Somebody remember this column and drag it out and give it to me on Nov. 1.

We are now facing what many call the winter doldrums. I'm looking forward to it. Chilly days just made for curling up under the blanket with a good book. My sister's Christmas present, "Winter of the World," is calling me.

Days with darkness coming before dinner. No need to hurry through a meal so there will be time to do things. Just a leisurely meal listening to my husband, dishes and a quiet evening with a book or television. TLC is tempting us with more Honey Boo Boo.

No holidays demanding extra effort and hours of preparation. At my age, Valentine's Day just means cards for children and grandchildren and a meal with my husband and friends.

No rushing to crowded stores or surfing the Internet for the exact toy or article of clothing specified.
To those of you who are younger, it may sound boring. To me, it sounds like a wonderful two or three months of peaceful routine. Months to rest and recuperate. Months to restore my equanimity. Months to dream of spring and summer and future trips. Months to plan outings for the grandchildren.

I like winter. It's nature's way of reminding us that we need to slow down. Nature gives us a time to recharge our batteries. And we need it. At least I do.

Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be reached at