I’m not as quick to kick the door shut on 2013 as are many other people. Yes, I am most definitely happy to move forward and leave the past behind, but I wanted to take some time to reflect on the direction in which my feet have traveled not only this past year but the past decade before I determined new goals.
I revisited some of my old blog posts (even some from a long-deleted blog I had eight years ago) and sifted through random ideas and notes that I had scribbled on scraps of paper and tucked into an old notebook. I can pinpoint the exact moment while sitting in the pizza parlor at the (now demolished) Oasis casino over seven and a half years ago, the day after my thirty-third birthday, that I made a not-so-brilliant choice, but a choice that would eventually bring Maya into my life. I refuse to allow myself to sink into regret, but I’ve had days in the past when I’ve wondered… what if I had followed my gut instinct? I used to say, “well then I wouldn’t have Maya,” but what if I would have had her anyway, just with someone else? How could I be so sure that I wouldn’t have the same wonderful child in my life? Am I so wise that I know exactly how the universe works? Hardly. At any rate, the lesson I would eventually learn is to trust my gut. Always.
Always trust my gut.
The years would bring so many struggles that at times I felt like I would crumble into nothingness, yet I didn’t wither away. I stood back up. Repeatedly. Although I couldn’t see it at the time, I grew stronger every time I arose to meet the challenges before me. Along the way, I s-l-o-w-l-y dropped the baggage, increasing the release from 2010, to 2011, and on into 2012. To be honest, I am a tad surprised at the level of my personal growth over the years. I liken it to watching your kids grow. You don’t notice it so much on a daily basis, but when you glance back on old pictures, the change is dramatic. My old blog entries are my pictures. I can see in which areas of my life I have grown and in which areas I’m still struggling. These years have brought a vast amount of inner growth, which is supposed to happen throughout life, but it is something people frequently avoid because personal growth isn’t easy. It’s difficult and sometimes painful. You have to learn to accept yourself, warts and all. You need to examine your priorities and work through the issues that block your progress. And sometimes it requires you to take debris to the compost pile, the lessons learned fertilizer for a wiser, stronger, and emotionally and mentally healthier self.
This past year, I finally ditched the remaining baggage and set myself free. I’ve been lounging in this calm lately and basking in the lightness that I haven’t felt in ages. I think that now that I have my emotional and mental life well-balanced and in good health, I can begin to focus again on my creative life. I’ve been far too easily distracted by certain people and situations in the past, and now that those people and issues are no longer a part of my life, I feel like there’s room for creativity to flow freely. I feel it again.
This past year, I’ve been trying new things and following through on ideas I’ve had in the past. I took the kids camping in Flagstaff right before my 40th birthday, and this time it was so much fun (unlike when I took them camping when Maya was much younger). I flew to Austin for a long weekend and Blogger Interactive at the end of October. Huge step for me and wonderful experience for everyone involved.
I don’t think I’ve carved a pumpkin since Josh was eight or nine years old, but I finally did this past year with Maya.
I’ve never roasted a butternut squash, but I wanted to give this fettuccine recipe a try. So I made it and it was divine. Try it. The recipes and ideas at The Kitchn are excellent. While you’re there, wander over to their sister site, Apartment Therapy, and check out the January Cure for ideas on getting your home in shape after the holidays.
I’ve lived in a small space for years and haven’t had the room for a Christmas tree, so I’ve always wanted to create a wall tree. I fail to do it every single year. Except this year. It was a huge hit with Maya and it added even more warmth to my cozy little home. She’s already begged me to do it again next year.
I also remember to hang the stockings every year, but then forget to fill them with trinkets and goodies. This year, I remembered. I even found a miniature Pikachu for Josh, which put a huge grin on his face. Win!
The kicker: I made a Lego table for Maya for Christmas. I hate to admit this, but in the past, I likely would have talked about it with every intention of making it, but failed to follow through. Time would have slipped through my fingers. I’m so, so happy I made it because it has been so much fun to play with it– for her and for me.
I’ve been experimenting with all sorts of recipes, from toffee-chocolate chip shortbread to this cranberry-orange-quinoa salad. Maya and I have been painting, reading, playing, and we have picnics on a regular basis.
Part of opening yourself up to the creative flow is to open yourself up to life. Try new things. Live more in the moment. Be aware. Maintain your sense of humor. I didn’t really make any resolutions last year, but I had a sense that it would be filled with personal growth, and it was. It’s quite something how inner growth changes so many areas of your life. So, thank you, 2013.
I’ve only made a few resolutions for 2014, mostly concerning creative writing goals, trying new things on a regular basis, and continuing my personal growth, but I think this year is going to be a big year for me. I’m ready for huge, wonderful, love-filled changes in my life. Before now, there were a number of times I thought I was ready, but in reality, I was still attached to areas of my past.
I questioned myself as to why I’m so sure I’m ready now when I have previously thought the same, and the answer was immediate and clear: I no longer look back and wonder, “what if?” I live now and look to the future.
Here’s to the future.