Celebrate December: Remember To Fill Your Own Tank

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Susan Drome Heeter photo

Me and my dog Bennie


The gifts we give ourselves is something upon which I muse joyfully this dark and blustery December day.

Gifts for others is paramount this time of year, but as I reflect upon the past twelve months, I think of those moments where I filled my own tank with gas thereupon making it far easier to be just a little kinder, a little more patient, a little bit of a better me.

First things first, I have the gift of some incredible friends. Friends who make me laugh, who accept me for exactly who I am. Oh, no better gift.  2021 was filled with those amigos and amigas who picked up the phone, who made me giggle, who shared successes and sorrows of their lives.  My friend Doug is one such pal; living in Eire, he simply humors me, admonishing me for my long gray hair and insisting I look like Woodstock.  He’s been a constant for over thirty years, it’s lovely when someone knew you as a size 4.

A sequin face mask brings joy to Susan Dromey Heeter

Other gifts?  Oh, the gift of being outside  – of walking, walking, walking. My 2021 pal, Bennie the dog, is always ready for a lap, a jaunt, an excursion. The gift of movement is one I hope to continue for years and years. And a walk? Easy does it, I simply put on a coat, a podcast, grab the leash and some plastic bags and voila!  I’ve got a fresh air bath, movement that can bring out the joy and distraction I need from covid, from stress, from work. It’s free, it’s easy and best of all? No mirrors.

The gift of health is one for which I continually celebrate gratitude.  I am fully vaxed, I follow suggested guidelines, I stay hydrated, I move, I go to bed early. And there is another gift: I can sleep like no one’s business. If there were a sleep olympics, I’d be a gold medal winner. Truly. I am a solid sleeper. And that, dear musers, a gift for health – physical, mental, spiritual.  I am entirely grateful.

And stocking stuffer gifts?  I always carry stamps around in my wallet, forever ready to write a note, mail a letter. My Dad used to carry stamps in his wallet, both the act of being prepared as well as thinking of my dad? Oh, simple gifts, tiny bursts of positive remembrance. Another stocking stuffer? I’m never late; I arrive places early, I get to work an hour early. I don’t rush. That is a gift of time, of patience, of pause, of serenity. That is also a gift from my military husband who lives by the code, “If you’re not ten minutes early, you’re late.”

Finally, it’s a gift to write these muses and to celebrate the readers of InDepthNH.org.  Staying informed is a gift I give myself, supporting local and national journalists is a gift not only for me but for our democracy. I am grateful I can contribute in some small way.  And I thank you, dear readers, for being a gift in my life, unwrapped, as you are, always ready for a giggle, a laugh, a pause.  

Celebrate December in the way that brings you joy, dear musers, and I thank you for being a gift I give myself every week.

Susan Dromey Heeter is a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white. Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.  Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards.

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