Time to stick a fork in 2018

29 12 2018

Weather: Cold but not normal cold. Upper 30s with a light dusting of snow.

It’s that time of year…the end, at least chronologically speaking, of 2018.

It’s been a bear of a year for many reasons, most of which I will mention but not dwell on. Mostly because I am bone-level weary and the year seems bound and determined to get a last boot in right at the end, as expected.

The last couple of years have been, to put it lightly, CHALLENGING. Health matters, politics, the weather, family trauma, finances… everything has been dialed up to 100,  with a baseball bat.

I was diagnosed with panic disorder this year, and have been in therapy to work on coping with it. I developed Gastritis this summer and ended up on a very restricted diet until it was under control. (Luckily caught it before it became an ulcer).

Bri and I both lost family members, and our aging relatives suffered a number of health setbacks this year, which was a constant source of concern.  

Now, at the end of the year, we have found ourselves facing some financial challenges that were unanticipated and we are scrambling to keep the boat afloat, so to speak. 

Still, even after all this shitstorm of shenanigans, I find myself facing the upcoming year with a weird sense of calm and – prepare yourself- Positive Outlook.  

I KNOW! 

Here’s the rub:  After 2 years of worrying about the worse case scenario, we’ve kind of had it happen in a number of ways.  We’ve managed to survive it all. And even though we’re ending the year in a rather precarious position, the prospects of it getting better are at a higher probability that we could have expected. Is it a certainty? Hell no. But having palatable options is a damn near sight better than having no options at all. 

On top of it, even with the health issues? We both got trainers and have been steady at getting to the gym, and we have improved our diets, so both of us have lost weight and are in better shape than we’ve been in for YEARS. I consider that a BIG positive. 

Mentally, I’m in a better head-space than I’ve been in a long while. It took a lot of work and I am fully aware that I am not cured, but the bouts of anxiety I have are becoming less and less frequent, and when I have one, it is not nearly as debilitating. Another BIG positive. 

The finances are what they are. Weirdly that’s never really been a source of anxiety. Money is a calculable issue that I can resolve with logic, math and spreadsheets. Boring but doable. It’s not an abstract concept to me so I feel it’s always fixable. It helps to have resources and alternate streams of income. (Selling items, making things to sell, online surveys, gifts from relatives etc). Also, I am an obsessive accountant and budget maker. I will squeeze pennies from places that others might miss and have no qualms sacrificing services to pay for necessary things. 

All in all , the only quandary that has me  a little nervous is the rust on my creativity.  This year has not been kind to my artistic outlets. Writing has all but ground to a halt, and although I’ve been much more busy the latter half of this year, the first half saw zero progress on any mosaics.  I have started to feel the tentative tendrils of motivation reaching out again, and have dug out my stitch-work and knitting to add it to the creative outlet stream. So now I have a few different things to focus on if I hit a wall. More is better in this area.  I’ve been slowly coming to the realization that my lack of patience is something that has inevitably hamstrung me for a while now. So patience and paring down my focus to what I’m working on at the moment is my new goal for the next year. 

In general, that’s what 2019 is going to be about- not creating new goals or setting new benchmarks, but keeping the momentum going, and herding all the cats into a more manageable line. Already in the process of getting healthy, so keep it going. Already in the process of making things, so keep it going. Already in the process of simplifying, and purging, and expanding my creative output….so just keep that shit going! 

Getting started is always the exciting part, but it’s also the most daunting. Keeping something moving once you’ve gotten it started is easier, especially if you can level the road and move carefully enough to sidestep the obstacles. 

I’m going to be focusing on slowing things down a little. Some of that has to do with physical limitations- My arthritis is making handwriting and working on mosaics difficult, but not impossible. I just need to be patient with my progress.  I’m also going to be focusing on quality and not quantity. With the insanely fast paced nature of our media/internet driven world, there is always a fear that you will miss out on an opportunity, or that you have to cater to the expected (insane!) time expectations of the convenience hungry consumers. I’m no longer going to worry about that. I will make things and they will be completed in the time it takes to complete them to my satisfaction. An item is only as valuable as the time and care put into it. Maybe I’ll only make 5 pieces of art in the time others could crank out 10. And I’m okay with that. 

Anyway. I realize this has turned into a bit of navel gazing, but that is what end of year blog posts tend to  do.

Here’s to 2019. I’m hoping to make it a very productive year, and to get my perspective back where it needs to be– on creating things and exploring this world we have, without the filter of a screen or others’ interpretations. 

Let’s all try to be more compassionate, and help others a little more. Let’s be kinder to ourselves. Let’s be the people Mr. Rogers wanted us to be. You can be angry for others and defend the more vulnerable, but leave space and time for peace and for gratitude for those who do the right things and contribute as well. 

Maybe it’s an idealistic way to live, but cynicism only gets you so far. 

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