Settling into a life pattern

Linda Conway Eriksson - Contributing Columnist

The start of a new year is a good time to sit back and take stock of things — such as one’s life.

When you’re young, most of life is ahead of you. None of us can see through to the end. In your mind, it goes on and on into the future, seemingly forever. Early on, most of us are too busy living day to day to think about shaping our future lives.

You start to suspect everything’s not circumscribed when you start making independent choices and you have to learn to live with them. It’s exhilarating when you discover that you can alter a pattern you’ve drifted into. It doesn’t have to perpetuate itself if you don’t allow it.

So why do so many people set themselves on a particular course that’s meant to be temporary (first job, first home away from our parents, first significant other) and stick to what quickly becomes our norm? Are we, as younger people, afraid to “mess with” our early success, as limited as that might be?

Everyone has options, but everyone doesn’t recognize or exercise those options. Tunnel vision? Fear of the “what-ifs?” If not exactly comfortable with the way things are, how much worse might they be if you change them?

Then again, how much better might they be if you take charge of your life? There’s probably a country song that addresses just about anything that can possibly happen to (or for) a person. The lyrics that come to mind right now come from “That’s What I’m Doin’ These Days.”

They describe two people who were a couple when they were young. She left home, went to college, and married a rodeo cowboy. He stayed home and ended up living in the same rut he dug for himself as a young man. It’s summed up in the line, “Life throws you curves, but you learned to swerve. Me, I swung and I missed.”

So, what might happen if you keep swinging?

Empower yourself in 2018. Seize each and every day. Make a difference in your life that will benefit you, and you’ll find it impacts others close to you as well. Wake up swinging at life, and keep on swinging.

A lifestyle change can begin with something as simple as cooking and eating one healthy meal. Try this as a first step.


1 3-pound uncooked chicken

Water to cover (about 3-4 quarts)

Salt to taste

4-6 ribs celery with leaves

2 large bay leaves

1 bunch parsley

Place all ingredients into a 6 to 8 quart pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover and simmer over low heat for up to 2 hours. Remove chicken and set aside.

Allow broth to cool for half an hour or until it is cool enough to handle. Strain into jars with tight fitting lids and refrigerate.

Makes about two quarts.

This base will allow you to add vegetables you like to have a cup of good soup any time you want it for a meal or in between meals.

I add spinach leaves, fresh chopped celery, green onions and carrots, bean sprouts, sliced water chestnuts, a lightly beaten egg, and/or some of the chicken I just cooked. Baby kale is a good option, as are sliced mushrooms. Microwave for long enough so the broth wilts the greens, allow to rest for a couple of minutes, and that’s all there is to it.

Add a green salad and a piece of crusty bread and you have a healthy lunch or dinner and a happy start to a new year.

Linda Conway Eriksson

Contributing Columnist

Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached at

Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached at