HodgePodge by Charlie Hodge – New Years 2021

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I greeted in New Years 2021 with drink in hand and wife by my side. However it was coffee – and the next morning.

Tez and I tried to kick 2020 out the back door New Years’ eve but falling asleep during a movie got in the way. That miniscule failure, however, did not turn the Hodge house on its head since our other potential party members also conked out early. Trouble, Bandit, Chaos, Scaredy Cat and Fluffy Little Bear faded into the snooze zone hours before, having chased each other to exhaustion following consumption of their catnip Christmas gifts.

Suffice to say there are no true party animals anymore at our house.

I suppose missing the magical midnight moment could be perceived as emblematic of the year gone by. 2020 was a year hosting a lot of interruptions, a lot of things that failed or were not completed, and a lot of spirits and dreams decimated. All the more reason to greet 2021 with optimism and high hopes.

The optimist within suggests life will be much better this new year. The pessimist suggests such is simply wishful thinking and that 2020 was only the tip of a deadly iceberg. Personally I’m cheering for the optimist option.

Regardless I join thousands of Canadians glad to see 2020 toast. Certainly it was a year like none I have experienced since first doing oxygen. COVID19 was (and is) a harsh reminder of how volatile life can be, how life can turn so quickly, and that we should take nothing for granted. Life is indeed fragile and precious.

I understand the angst and suffering of many folks regarding the pandemic. For the past nine years I’ve battled the effects of emphysema. As my life dwindles away wearing a face mask, using oxygen, and protecting a compromised immune system is something I am unfortunately use to. These are daily functions of my world now. For me, there is no recovery – only damage control.

I also comprehend the horrible fear of being incubated. Two years ago this week I was on life support, pretty much dead from CO2 poisoning. After 48 hours or so of an induced coma doctors pulled the tubes and miraculously I woke up

I’d like to pretend the pandemic was why Tez and I stayed home on New Years, but it wasn’t. Even if I was healthier (and able to stay awake past 9 p.m.) we’d likely not have ventured out. After 50 years or so of finding any excuse to party at New Years I’m done with it all. Most of my past New Year’s events held a special connection as I was either managing, running lights, booking, or just close friends with the band that was playing. That VIP bonus made the nights all that more memorable.

Yet, like anything else that life-style had its seasons.

With death knocking on my door so many times the past few years, having the chance to spend a quiet new year’s eve with my wife and kitties held extra joy for all of us. (I arrogantly believe I get to speak for my cats).

Another new year’s routine I no longer continue is making a resolution. I am not sure if that’s because I’m superstitious about making promises involving time in the future – or simply feel there are no resolutions I need to make. I already have a simple goal in my mind every day – to stay alive. I need not make a resolution in order to keep that foremost in my little brain.

Most folks make resolutions to change something in their lifestyle – to improve their health, finances, relationships … While my world is far from perfect I have most of those looked after as best as possible. Making a resolution to change such is not going to really help. If I am too stupid or lazy to not look after certain scenarios they will come back to bite me.

I suppose another reason I’ve stopped making New Year’s resolutions is my previous ones rarely succeeded. I cannot begin to count how many times I vowed on a New Year’s Eve to quit smoking. Sometimes I lasted a whole month or two months. (I finally quit one July afternoon).

Regardless, I digress. I made a resolution a few years back to give up making resolutions and so far I’ve kept it.

What I still do, though, is make up a ditty for the upcoming year.

In 2019 I pledged, “Be kind not mean in 2019”

Last year I simple coined, “Laugh and Love plenty in 2020”.

This year it’s simple “Return to fun in 2021.”

I’ll toast to that!

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.

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