Sunday Edit: Andrea’s New Year Reflections

Andrea Elisabeth Rudolph, founder of Rudolph Care, shares her thoughts on the past year and the one ahead. She talks about the gratitude of finally recognizing herself again, prioritizing small everyday adventures, and why a game of Uno on an Austrian mountain is pure happiness.

Looking back on 2023, what stands out for you?

“2023 started as the best year for me in several years. I took out some of my savings and went to Austria for a month with my two youngest boys. After my cancer journey in 2021 and a tough year in 2022 trying to recover, I didn't want 2023 to begin with being overwhelmed by life's long to-do list. I feel very privileged that taking a month out of the calendar was an option for me,” says Andrea Elisabeth Rudolph.

What did that month in Austria do for you?

“It's the best thing I've ever done. The boys and I slept until we woke up, started the day slowly, did puzzles, had a delicious breakfast, and then went to the mountain. We laughed a lot, were brave, and tried new things. Every day, we had a backpack filled with a water bottle and chocolate. For lunch, we had hot goulash soup, played Uno, did some more skiing, and then returned to the apartment for homeschooling. That trip filled me with energy. It was a break from everyday life, a minefield of appointments, meetings, finances, and work without end. There's so much we need to accomplish and keep up with in our lives, and the world's chaos that is burning...”

Why has 2023 been a good year for you?

“Because I am in a state where I can recognize myself again after my cancer journey. I was sick in 2021. 2022 was also a tough year because I was affected by the radiation I received at the end of 2021. While I appeared physically healthy on the surface, internally, my well-being was not as robust. At the same time, I didn't want to continue being a burden; my family and friends shouldn't have to make special considerations. But finally, in 2023, the fog lifted, and I could recognize myself again, and my energy and joy for life came back.”

What have you learned from your time with cancer?

“I organize my life knowing that I can't do 10 things at once, and that's okay. I am conscious of how I use my energy to avoid running out.”

What is essential for you in 2024?

“2024 is about continuing to take care of myself and holding on to the wisdom I gained during my illness: awareness of what is good for me and what is not. I need to practice holding on to that because everyday life has a way of rushing by, day by day, week by week, month by month. I need to schedule the good things, the small everyday adventures. Life may not necessarily be long, so it better be good. All the difficult things come on their own, so I ask myself: what does it take for me to have the opportunity to experience something nice every single day? It can be tiny things, moments. I must remember to open the calendar for the things that bring me value, smiles, laughter, and lightness.”

What is a small adventure?

“A small adventure can, for example, take a walk and bring warm tea or cocoa in a thermos. So, you can stop, sit down, and enjoy along the way. Or take a small binocular to watch the birds for just fifteen minutes. A micro-adventure can also be lighting a fire in your yard or garden on a weekday evening. Wear warm clothes, make popcorn over the fire for the kids, and invite friends for a hot toddy. Seek out what's happening in your local area and engage in the existing communities.”