With the holidays over, I’m breathing a sigh of relief.

Mostly because figuring out how to celebrate in a different way can be pretty stressful after the loss of a loved one.

What traditions to keep on doing and what to change are major decisions.

So now, I’m thinking about what my options are for this new year. Resolutions aside, like going to the gym more regularly and eating healthier, I’m trying to decide what new experiences I want to have. These are not necessarily things that I have never done before, but are things that I have never done alone.

I didn’t go to the movies for a long time because I felt that going solo was kind of lame. Then I read a revealing post about watching a movie alone being the best and most rewarding way to enjoy a movie and I was motivated to go on my own. I still feel a little out of sync when I’m waiting on line for a ticket or when I’m sitting in the midst of all the couples in the place, but I’m less self-conscious about it.

Angela and I used to like to go to New York for the theater and dinner and I always look in the Times to see what’s on Broadway that I might want to see, but I haven’t acted on it. Perhaps this is the right time to buy some tickets and get to see “To Kill A Mockingbird” or “Waverly Gallery” with Elaine May probably appearing on the stage for the last time at 90.

My church is organizing a trip to Europe in the spring and even though some friends are encouraging me to join the group, I’m not quite sure about doing it.

I’ve had conversations with others who live alone and cook for themselves and I’ve found a whole plethora of approaches to the dilemma of cooking/eating alone. Most of them do more than I’ve been doing, either by being more diligent about preparing more balanced meals or else get prepared food from restaurants that can be reheated and enjoyed. I’m resolving to move out of my joyless cooking mode and begin to pay more attention to what I put on my plate.

The cooking group Wooster Square Cooks, of which I am the administrator, provides tons of inspiration for casual cooks to step it up a notch. I recently saw a post of a beautifully prepared meal on a plate that the proud live-alone widow showed us, stating that she loves to cook and even though it’s just for one, it gives her pleasure to cook and eat fine food. So I’m going to try to do better this year.

Do I want to try to be more social this year? I ask myself. Shouldn’t I be getting out more to events and places that might interest me? I’ve done very little of that, and I’m thinking it might be time to look at the things that are happening every week and follow up. Concerts and lectures in New Haven are so plentiful and of such high quality, why not enjoy them. Yale alone provides enough options each and every week to keep me quite busy, so why not take advantage.

Oh yes, I want to start reading again, so many wonderful books on my reading list and I’ve been ignoring the pleasure of just sitting and reading on a quiet afternoon. Definitely on my active agenda.

Also want to spend more time with my grandkids even though it means traveling to see them, face time isn’t quite true same as real time. And I definitely want to get to know Alexa better, she sits quietly for long periods of time, just waiting for me to ask her to do something, sometimes I can hear her sigh in disappointment.

In the end, it’s really all about my willingness to act on these options and not just think about doing them.

Finding the energy to actually take things to the next level is the most challenging task that lies ahead this year. I suspect that I’m not alone with my new year to-do list. Many of us need to face our life choices and things we would like to change or improve. It’s just human nature to avoid dealing with them, but our rational nature knows that we should.

So the new year is an opportunity for new ideas about how to deal with old problems. It isn’t as though these issues weren’t already on our radar, it’s just that we didn’t choose to take them seriously. I’m going to try, maybe we all should.