Views from the Valley

Spring Forward

Throughout my lifetime, I’ve noticed that people follow a particular pattern during the period from November through January. I don’t know if it’s related to the changing seasons from fall to winter, the celebration of many holidays in succession or simply the winding down of the current year and preparing for the next. It seems that no matter where individuals are in their lives they begin to evaluate their circumstances and make plans to get things in order.

Some people start thinking about the job they are doing and wonder if it is time to move on to further their careers. Some consider the broken relationships they have and whether it is worth it to make amends or to let them go. Others may decide to make better personal choices to improve their mind, body and spirit. This often comes in the form of resolutions or commitments to do better in the coming year and setting goals. Year-end assessments can be a time of great personal growth and healing, but they can also be a time of great sadness and reflection.

If a person has experienced severe stress or illness during the year or is grieving someone who has passed, heading into a season when days are more gloomy than bright may be quite difficult. They may not feel like participating in holiday celebrations, being out among the masses or even wanting to get out of bed. It is important to honor the feelings of those who are struggling but also remind them that they are not alone. Encourage them to seek help, if needed.

After having lost three parents within a year, my husband Jeff and I certainly felt the absence in our holiday celebrations. Through the strength of our family, we were able to push through the loss and embrace the holiday season with joy in our hearts. We cooked a fabulous Thanksgiving feast, went to the Montrose Christmas parade and decorated our yard with festive holiday décor. We also attended a performance of “A Christmas Carol” at Highlands Church in La Crescenta that set the tone for the season and filled us with Christmas spirit. The Charles Dickins story that we all know was interwoven with traditional Christmas songs and well presented by an exuberant cast dressed in period holiday wear. It was a wonderful distraction from missing our loved ones.

I also found great joy in holiday gifting. I like to create little surprises for our neighbors or displays for the volunteers at work to discover. I really don’t care if anything comes my way because the mere act of giving is so much fun, but I certainly do appreciate it if someone selects something special just for me. In addition, I like to make year-end contributions to help others like supporting veteran organizations or conservation efforts in our community. It makes me feel like I am part of something bigger even though my donation may be small by comparison. There are so many charities to choose from; it is often hard to decide so I give broadly. I truly admire those who take giving to the next level by coordinating community events like toy, food or blood drives or doing hands-on work like serving in a soup kitchen. That would probably be included in my next set of resolutions if I weren’t already spread so thin. For now, I will continue to focus on my own physical and spiritual wellness as well as honor all my current volunteer commitments like writing for the CV Weekly.

Wherever you are in your renewal process, I hope you come out the other side feeling healthy, invigorated and ready to meet the sunshine. Find the strength to grow your relationships, get your proverbial house in order, and don’t forget to take time to tiptoe through the tulips when they emerge. Spring is right around the corner.

Susan Bolan


Susan Bolan