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Out with the Old....

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Within a few days, it will all be over. The piles of wrapping paper will have been neatly gathered and put into garbage bags. The good china will have been hand washed and put away. Maybe you'll notice a chip on one plate that didn't exist the night before. You'll mentally note that you must remember to make sure that this plate will be yours next year because mommies and women all over the world take the imperfect and slightly marred and make them their own so everyone else can enjoy the perfection that they (try to) continue to perpetuate. You know exactly how to set it on the table of the future so that nobody else will notice the mistakes of the past.

Will this holiday be as perfect as you hoped it would be? Will the smiles and squeals of joy be as real or imagined as the tears you withheld or perhaps only you noticed? As we deplete our time and stock of groceries to prepare, bake and cook memorable meals, women all over the world will evaluate the evening before and the events leading up to the end of this year and then turn to face the sunrise on a new decade.

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It's almost hard to believe that one year ago we were still waking up and hobbling through the end of an era known simply as "W". And lest we forget, numerous troops, still wake up daily to the harsh reality that we can't even begin to imagine in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and other points on the globe. Whether you are with family, friends or alone, remember that somewhere someone else is still cleaning up a bigger mess than what will wait in your dining room or kitchen sink. Be mindful that a broken goblet is replaceable. A broken soul or psyche is not. There are too many people out there whose names and faces we may never know who are still trying to rebuild lives or are mourning the losses of others. Soldiers overseas are defending your right to be celebrating with food, drink and presents. While you are watching TV or carefully eyeing someone who didn't put something back where it belongs, the men and women of our military are watching each other's backs and our own. Kind of makes you wonder if we were to rename it "missile toe", what the implications of thatmight mean.

As the year winds down, remember that there is much to be grateful for like newborns, new careers, new relationships and countless new opportunities. Life is a lottery of choices, decisions and opportunities and the chances of you winning any part of it are exponentially higher if you participate. Look back, ahead, in the mirror and at the world around you and decide if you want to make it a better place. Let go of things you don't need and listen to the voice inside your heart to see what you do. Cherish those around you. And if you are single, don't give up hope. Finding love is not nearly as difficult as knowing what to do with it or how to maintain it once you do. Take a moment to tell those around what they mean to you and what a difference they have made in your life. Make a difference in theirs. Take these thoughts with you into Christmas weekend and the New Year.

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And then, go clean the kitchen.

Happy holidays to all.

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Patricia A. Smith is a writer and artist (and sometimes both at the same time). A former columnist, restaurant critic and cruise line executive, Smith has lived in London, Greece, Denmark, Hungary, Egypt, Costa Rica and France. She returned (more...)
 

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