So is this going to be a blog post about reflection and self-improvement?
. . .honestly, I don't know WHERE I'm gonna go with this one, so I guess we'll just find out together.
It's been a . . . challenging year for me, personally. Good times and bad, just like for everyone else. I'd like to think I've learned some things. I guess we'll see. =)
So is this going to be a post about resolutions for the new year?
I don't make resolutions.
I used to, but they were almost always the same as everyone else's, the same mundane goals, and as soon as I hit a wall with one (usually around the second week of January) I would end up beating myself up over it for the next several weeks. Or months. Just depends.
So I'm done with resolutions.
I do, however, have some GOALS for this new year. . . but I'm keeping most of them to myself.
I also have a few Reminders for Myself, though, and those I would like to share with you.
They're pretty simple, but here they are:
On a regular basis.
Unplug from the internet. Unplug from the emails, and the phone, and the tv, and your own growing irritation, and all the NOISE.
Take time to be quiet. To let your mind wander. To remember a song that you'd forgotten about.
Hear the sound of your own voice singing.
Sit in the back yard.
Do nothing. . .
. . . Can I say that any louder??!?
The one thing we can never get more of is time.
Your children will only be this age ONCE.
YOU will only be this age ONCE.
YOU WILL NEVER SEE THIS WEDNESDAY AGAIN.
So go learn to play the piano.
Look at the people around you, and really SEE them.
If you aren't happy with your life -- CHANGE IT!!!
Don't wait to be happy.
Don't wait to laugh.
Don't wait to feel loved.
DO. IT. NOW.
Read the story, write the book, play the song.
. . . Realize that you ARE the song.
Clock's ticking, people.
About 2 1/2 years ago, I had never painted anything, other than maybe a bedroom wall. I had some troubles, got in a rough patch with myself, and accidentally rediscovered that I really LIKE to draw. . . . I just never thought I had much of a talent for it.
But I enjoyed it, so I started drawing. It was an exercise in meditation, and it allowed me to "put down" some of the anxieties that I was carrying.
And I started doing it almost every day. Even when I wasn't in the mood.
And one day, even though I was terrified of even touching it, I picked up a paintbrush.
I had convinced myself that I didn't know HOW to use a paintbrush, and so, for most of my life. . . I hadn't.
And I was completely petrified.
Of screwing up. Of really sucking at it.
But I swallowed that fear, and I did it anyway.
Because, by this point in my life, I had stopped trying to convince myself of all the things I COULDN'T do.
At THIS point in my life, I was busy convincing myself of other things. . . like the belief that trying, failing, and trying again is STRENGTH. And that fear, no matter how small, is my enemy.
So I was afraid to paint. I was afraid that I would exert all that time and effort, then look at my finished work and be completely irritated that it hadn't turned out to be good enough. I was afraid of feeling like a failure, even if only to myself.
It took a while, but the realization finally hit me:
No, I wasn't great. I was no Van Gogh, and I never would be. Primarily because there was never going to BE another Van Gogh.
I realized that, while I might not be a mysterious and miraculous little snowflake, I WAS unique. In that I was me. And I was the only one of those there was ever going to be. In all my muffin batter-spattered bathrobe, messy hair, and bags-under-my-eyes mommy glory, I realized that somehow, when I wasn't looking, I was slowly turning into the best (though still QUITE imperfect) possible version of ME.
Now it's been 2+ years, and I am almost at the point where I would feel comfortable calling myself an "artist."
(Not a GREAT one, mind you, but still. . .)
And that's a huge step for me.
And a huge lesson.
YOU WILL NEVER GET TO YOUR DESTINATION IF YOU DO NOT START DOWN THE PATH.
One step at a time. Take the first one. Your feet know how to follow each other.
Create something that's never BEEN before.
Use your time wisely.
Be honest both with others, and with yourself.
. . .and I'M learning that learning to do this is an art form in and of itself.
But we all want to live a genuine life, right?
We all want to learn how to focus on what's REALLY important, and shut out all the noise and the distractions and the drama, right??!
I think this starts with honesty.
(You can be honest with someone WITHOUT tearing them a new rectum. It can be done. As I said: "art form.")
Be gently honest with yourself first, and once you get good at that. . . I think it just naturally starts to spill over into the rest of your life.
No one wants to reach the end of their life and think:
"Oh God. If only I hadn't wasted so much time caring what others thought of me. If only I hadn't been afraid to TRY. If ONLY I had said the things I needed to say, and made the changes I needed to make!"
I intend to avoid this at all costs. And I think it starts with honesty.
Live your life on purpose.
Be better than you were yesterday.
Then do it again.
Give second chances.
Understand that the WORST points of your life, the points where you honestly thought that you could not keep on going. . . are molding you into a freaking warrior.
The points that broke your heart, the moments when you thought you'd never stop crying, and that you COULDN'T go on, because there WAS NO "on" . . . they are tenderizing you. Making you more compassionate. Focusing your sight, so that you see the pain of others.
I'm not gonna lie. . . the hard parts HURT.
But they make you BETTER.
They make it worth it.
COME AS YOU ARE, & ACCEPT THE SAME FROM OTHERS.
For example: I'm a turtle.
Some others have not. Not due to some inherent "badness" within them. . . but simply because they haven't made it that far yet.
You can come as you are. And that's fine.
That's what we're all doing, anyway.
And I've made my peace with it.
**As this will most certainly be my final blog post for this year, I'd like to offer a final thought.
We live in an amazing time, folks.
It is a beautiful, and tragic, and magically delicious place we have here.
WE LIVE IN A TIME WHERE OUR VOICES CAN LITERALLY BE HEARD AROUND THE WORLD!!!!
I choose to lift mine in song.
Peace and love.
To all of you, and all of yours.