Founder’s Forum: New Year Asks Us to Reflect & Persevere

JB Lester The Healthy Planet

By J.B. Lester

As the holidays come to a close, and we have spent some quality time with family and friends, take this opportunity for an emotional inventory of what the old year has brought us. For me, it has been a year of transition from working full time to part-time and retirement of sorts. I have kept busy writing my column, helping when needed at The Healthy Planet magazine, and keeping watch over my grandchildren on a part-time basis. I have also been working on my mystery series: The Jackson James Chronicles. I never knew I would be tending to and learning so much from my 2 1/2-year-old grandson Cooper on an almost daily basis. All my grandchildren stir my soul and melt my heart. It’s what being a grandparent is all about. Yes, I signed up for this years ago when Niki and I had our daughters Natalie and Stephanie. Now my dreams have come to true as new generations came to life. This part of the past year has brought me great joy in the form of Jackson, Joey, Cooper and Vivianne. They are the light of my life.

It has also been a time of great loss for me and all who knew and loved my good friend Dennis Woldum. He died after complications from surgery following an accidental fall at home. We met every week for lunch and shared our stories of family, politics, health and sports. The strength of our friendship was agreeing to disagree. We were not always aligned when it came to politics. But we agreed on most social issues and Dennis was a great advocate for people with developmental disabilities, community gardens and native plants. He and I were avid Golden Tee players at Llywelyn’s Pub in Webster Groves. I will miss our lunches, our talks and most of all our friendship. It is sometimes hard for men to make new friends, and I am so glad Dennis came into my life more than 25 years ago. He was a good man with a charitable spirit and a big heart. You will be greatly missed DJW.

As the old year sets and the new year rises, we look for ways to improve ourselves. You are never too old to learn but sometimes too stubborn to try. Loosen up. Try new things. It doesn’t mean you have to give up what you already love. Spread your wings. Take control of your life, your health, and your love. Because you never know. Ask questions. Take a few roads less traveled. Give someone a hug. Do a random act of kindness at least once a month. Pay it forward. Tell someone how much you care. And no matter how bleak it may seem at times, “keep on swimming, swimming, swimming” as Dori tells us.

You are stronger than you might feel right now. Love yourself first, then pass that love on to others. The new year provides corners that offer something new and exciting just around them. Take the plunge. Make the move. Be a better person. Dream. Reflect. Persevere.