December is nearly half over, and the temperature is cold. There is snow on the ground and everything in my garden is slumbering. We had a “winter storm” yesterday, and I got dismissed from work early. Today, it is too cold and snowy to go anywhere. I had my monthly freelance job to do anyway, so it was the perfect day to stay in and get that done. I don’t like the cold, but I like how snow slows everything down. It’s even more delicious when it shuts things down, because that leaves us with unexpected free time. There is no gift more valuable than time.
I was looking through this site’s archives, and I do an end of the year recap post most every year. I’ve kept a diary on and off since I was eight years old. (And oh, how hilarious those young diary entries are!) The older I get, the gladder I have become that I’ve done that. The more years you add to your belt, the harder it is to remember things. Writing it down helps me remember. It’s a great way to reflect, too. Have I done everything this year that I wanted to do? Have I achieved the goals I set for myself, or am I still worrying about the same damn things? I like to keep track. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day. I know there is a balance between setting goals and keeping them and just enjoying the present and the act of being.
It was interesting to look back at the entry I posted at the end of last year. At the very end, I talked about trying to enjoy blooming where I am planted. I go to a yoga class that is offered at my work, and our teacher has talked to us about that very thing for the last few months. Our society doesn’t encourage the practice of enjoying the present. We are competitive, we all have our stuff- our baggage that prevents us from doing something so simple as that. Life is full of amazing experiences as well as beautiful mundane happenings. I find that if I don’t stop and force myself to think and reflect on those little jewels, then I won’t. I, like most people probably, spend many, many hours worrying about things. I worry about the future. I analyze the past. I look at the bountiful life that I have and I want more. But what if, in the words of Jack Nicholson’s character in the 90s movie- “this is as good as it gets?” That’s a good question to ask yourself, because in my case, “this” is pretty fucking good.
Another great reason to write blog entries like this- what did I do in 2013? Can I remember? When I think back, the things that stand out are:
- I worked a lot.
- I am conflicted about the nature of work. I’m too much of an idealist.
- I walkjogged the Mini-Marathon. That’s kinda crazy. 13.1 miles!
- My husband I took an amazing trip to England.
- I became a board member of a local arts organization.
- I got to spend a nice chunk of time with my sister who lives far away this past November.
There are other things. I was lucky enough to live the swingin’ freelance life for several years there, and it’s been an adjustment trying to cram everything I want to do into the amount of hours that I have. There’s never enough time, is there? I love to walk, I love to ride my bike. I love to cook, especially elaborate recipes that take up a whole afternoon. I love to garden. I love to keep our cozy little house. I love to spend time with my husband, my family and my cats. I love to read. I love to write. I love to take photos and design cool things. But there’s never enough time. So many things I want to do, never enough hours in the day. I’m a Type-A planner type person, and part of the reason for that is that I know my free time is limited, and I do not want to waste it.
Time. It will eventually run out. Knowing that, you have to prioritize. I’ve done enough navel-gazing in my life to know what’s important to me. Life is a balance of give and take. I have to make a list in my head, and keep top of mind what are the most important things. Limited time means some things are on the back burner for now. I’m not working on any personal art projects. I don’t usually cook anything elaborate unless I have the day off or it’s the weekend. I haven’t planted anything new in my garden. I don’t write very much.
Instead of working on personal art or writing projects, I expend most all of my artistic energy on my day job, my freelance projects, and now with my new board appointment. I will get back to those personal projects eventually, but for now, using my creative talent to earn a living is a pretty great situation. My board appointment is going to lead to a new teaching opportunity for me in 2014, so I’m happy to get my teaching mojo back up and running. I’ve been teaching photo classes off and on at work, but I haven’t had a regular teaching gig in a while. I would like to do more writing. Maybe that’s blogging more, or maybe I’ll try dabbling with writing fiction again. I used to write stories all the time, but I haven’t done that in several years. I’ve never once finished writing a story, either. One day, I’d like to finish one. Maybe next year, maybe in five or ten years. That’s not one of my burning goals; just something I’d like to do one day.
Whenever I have a few days off, I usually plan to cook something. I’m taking off Christmas week, and I’m going to cook a ton of stuff! I’m making a several things for Christmas at my Mom and Dad’s and will spend New Years Eve cooking something for the special New Years Eve party we’ve been attending since 2004- this is the ninth year we’ve been to this wonderful gathering. I know what I’m making for Christmas (several things from Edward Lee’s cookbook), but I’m not sure what I’m making for New Years Eve. Something savory, and something that will take hours and require me to pull a multitude of vessels and kitchen implements out of my cabinets and drawers and make a great, big mess while I work my magic.
I haven’t planted anything new in my garden lately, but we discovered that we had a leak in the pipes feeding into our house this month, and the water company had to come and tear up the yard, so next spring I will have to see what plants come back and do damage control. I suspect most of them will come back. They had to tear up an area where there were too many tiger lilies. I’ve needed to prune that spot for the past several years, so maybe this year my work will have been done for me! They also had to tear up an area where I had some phlox, so if that doesn’t come back, I’ll have to replant it, because I love those pretty little flowers.
In 2014, I will continue to work on blooming where I am planted. I am in a good spot, and I want to give that the appreciation it deserves. I am in a place professionally where I need to continue to develop where I am now before I take the next step, whenever and whatever that is. My new teaching gig will require a decent amount of work, as I’m going to tackle teaching Photoshop, which I have never done before. I also have the usual fitness goal/resolution. I signed up for the Mini-Marathon again, because having something challenging like that on my calendar helps me resist becoming slothful about exercise during the cold months. Maybe 2014 will be the year where I’ll start writing here more.