Too often we feel that the new year has to begin with a laundry list of things to improve, fix and work on, all of which are predicated on looking at what is supposedly wrong with us. I am feeling differently about this month. I have dreams and plans for the year ahead, but I want to approach this season with a positive attitude, a mindset that recognizes life is going well and I am usually doing my best even when it may not appear so. At least for now, I want to quiet the bossy supervisor in me that says I need to have a goal, devise a plan and get going. This does not mean all is perfect, that every goal has been reached or there is nothing more that I want from life. But in general, I feel great about 2015, and hope to see the benefits of some actions taken last year as a way to keep it moving in this year.
Last year I wanted to establish a better writing schedule, and I accepted that some habits had to change. I had to consider my writing as important as the projects I worked on with and for other people. I wanted to be clear about when I was taking a necessary break or just avoiding hard work. I wanted more of what matters and I had to cull some of the less meaningful routines from my day.
Although I can be an extrovert in some settings, I know that I need daily time alone to replenish my stores. Since it is mostly my husband and I at home, some may wonder just how much alone time one person needs. Well, for me the answer is – plenty. I remember when my aunt used to watch my daughter in the summer. My aunt always told her that every day they both had to have quiet time. She did not require that my daughter fall asleep, but just that they have a little time where the playing and gardening would stop, and instead she could pull out a book, rest, or just be still. I need that too.
I also need my family and friends. I do not live in the city where I grew up; however, many of my family members still live there. I look over my calendar early in the year and figure out when I can see everyone. Do I make the four-hour drive south, or will some visits require a train or plane ticket? For my friends closer to home, can we grab tea, take a walk, or meet at a performance? When we cannot gather, then a phone call or a written note makes me feel connected to them. In 2015 three friends passed on, but not before each one taught me so much about life. I cannot assume that I can ignore my relationships and expect them to thrive or be there when I want to talk. I need community.
I am a hot weather girl and believe humidity is nature’s way of kissing my skin and keeping it youthful and supple. Now I live in northern Indiana and when I moved here people warned me about the perma-cloud of gray and how it could be a bit depressing at times. They were right. I spent my first few years here blissful when the weather was warm, and annoyed at my surroundings when it became cold, wet and dreary. Last year, I woke up. How do I expect to enjoy the glory of spring and summer without embracing winter? I have learned to look at the barren trees and the snow-covered lawn and see energy in reserve. In nature, dormancy can hide growth, but there is life beneath the frozen ground that needs nurturing and quiet time, just like my aunt suggested. Given a period of quiet, something stronger can emerge. January will be my quiet time.