Arriving at the 2014 Blogging Party Late, As Usual

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.

oct 2013

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.

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YUM.

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.

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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!

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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.

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My new year’s day project. I rock.
Too much party on NYE
Too much party on NYE

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.

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She looks like she’s meditating. Trust me- she’s not.

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.

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19 thoughts on “Arriving at the 2014 Blogging Party Late, As Usual

  1. I really like the way you think. I quoted your previous post to someone else, a few weeks back; and am happy that I’ll probably be able to quote this one, now. When I used to do Continuity on film crew, I learned to trust my initial instincts and not be put off by crew-members telling me I’d been wrong. Like your gut. Trusting ourselves is so vitally important …

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    1. Thank you. It took a number of wrong decisions I made when I didn’t trust my gut to finally roll with my instinct instead of letting my brain tell me otherwise. I’m sure it will happen again at some point, but I hope my future poor choices are small, like ignoring “don’t eat that tuna fish sandwich.”

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  2. “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.” I love this so much, and it’s a lesson I’m learning now too.

    You have such a good energy about you, and I’m happy I got to meet you at BI. I hope 2014 brings you everything you want, and then some.

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    1. Thank you so much, Jen. For me, this past year has been one of tremendous growth, acceptance, and exercises in letting go, and I have a feeling this past year was pretty big for you, too. I’m really excited to see what 2014 brings for both of us. I foresee massive amounts of creativity spilling forth. I’m trying to plan my Portland visit for April/May/June, or whenever is the best time to see the Japanese gardens. We will definitely need to meet up again.

      Happy New Year!

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  3. youknowho

    This is my year to a. retire, b lose my age in pounds, and c to cure my procrastination tendency. I’ll start next week when we move back to Rock Island!

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  4. That lego tabel is amazing. “Too much partying on NYE” is an adorable photo. We can’t undue our past, or change it, all we can do is know what todo next time and it seems like you have that figured out. We can ponder the “what if’s” but they are not real. What is real is the now, and what you do with it, for better or for worse.

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  5. I love it. This was very inspirational!

    “Part of opening yourself up to the creative flow is to open yourself up to life… 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.”

    Last year, I turned 20, and having that “2” in the front put so much pressure for me to do so much more. One thing that hindered me was that I was too careful and ALWAYS asked myself, “what if?” and shied away from it. Even now, to be honest, I don’t know if I should worry so much about the consequences or just liberate myself and live my life day by day. But I guess I will put my attitude to a test when I go back to school in a week!

    Seriously, I love and respect your outlook and I wish you the best of luck with year 2014!

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    1. I can understand what the “number” can do to you. We tend to gauge our lives and self-worth by numbers, and it shouldn’t be like that. Grade percentages, age, weight, clothing size, FICO scores, salaries, book/record sales, movie premier opening numbers, blah blah blah… It never seems to end.

      I turned 40 this past year, and let me say that numbers still abound, but I do my best to not let them affect me. It’s a difficult thing to let go, but in the end, the numbers do not matter. YOU matter, and how you treat yourself and other people matters most of all. I say that if what you do doesn’t hurt yourself or others, then please liberate yourself. Life will fly by.

      Thank you so much for reading, and I wish you the best!

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  6. Oh, how well I know that feeling of standing in a moment and knowing you’re making a bad decision. People often talk about how things went south and they had no idea what they were walking into but I feel like I always *know* somehow. C’est la vie. Looking to the future now. I’m glad to hear that you feel you have left your baggage behind… that is where it belongs.

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