New Year, New Tricks

Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

I think I can say with confidence that we are all glad to see the hind end of 2020. It was indeed a bugger.

At my advanced age of fifty-seventeen, I’m realizing just how those numbers fit into the “can’t teach an old dog new tricks” saying…but is that really true?

I’m enamored with British television (or should I call it “telly”?) in the same way my British family is enamored with American shows like Friends. They’ve seen every episode numerous times–where I’ve never even watched the series all the way through. But give me detective drama with an English accent and I’m head over heels.

New Tricks is one of those shows for me–a group of retired policemen led by an attractive (of course) younger woman solving previously unsolvable cold cases. And how exactly do they manage this? Each member of the task force brings decades of talent, skills, and experience to the team.

Years = Advantage.

So throw out that notion of advancing age being equivalent to a doddering old person sipping tea by the fire with a lap blanket (though I do love tea and a blanket!) If we are willing to grow and learn, greater age isn’t just unwanted hair in unnecessary places, it can also mean greater peace of mind and more freedom to express ourselves.

For me, age has meant moving to East Tennessee after having been a West Coaster my whole life. It has meant exploring a new relationship, finding doctors who are not part of the same HMO I’ve belonged to for decades, trying to understand some pretty heavy Southern accents….

All these things have been and will continue to be challenges. Navigating new roads, new stores, new relationships. And will I finally pursue some of my long-held secret wishes? Things like being brave enough to publish my poetry, my other words? Perhaps selling some of my creative pursuits? Oh could it be??

I want to be more intentional this year. I’m finally struggling less with the old Lies In My Bones. I will likely always struggle, but I will happily accept a lesser struggling. I’m learning to believe that I am lovable, I have worth, my voice matters. It may have taken serious decades, but it is indeed a New Trick to have some peace around who I am. I’m in a supportive relationship with someone who respects me, hears me, values me. This is also a New Trick, this reciprocal, mutual valuing of each other. I’ve finally learned enough about what I should be able to expect in a relationship to be able to ask for it and know that I will be heard.

The noise in my head is quieter--I question myself less, I berate myself less, I can be more present to notice the now. Pair this with some intentional movement forward and it can only be good!

Trauma has taken a huge toll on me over the years, but this old dog is still learning, still growing. It doesn’t matter what our age is, we can work to heal. We can learn new ways of approaching the old familiar. Say buh-bye to 2020, and let’s walk into 2021 willing and intending to learn new things, to heal, to love and accept ourselves and live fully.

The bring your own beverage conversation: What New Tricks would you like to learn this year? What is one step you could take to achieve it? How could you be a better friend to yourself?


  1. I’m so happy to be able to experience a healthy relationship with you and to explore together what the next phases of our lives looks like! And I’ve seen every episode of Friends at least twice. Like you, I think I may always struggle with the leftovers of the events of my childhood, but as long as that gets less and less intrusive in my life as time goes on and I grown and heal, I will be happy.


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