|"Lakedale Swans 2014"|
As 2014 draws to a close I have been reading about the yearly rituals of choosing "a word" for 2015. The concept has always intrigued me, but which word is "the word"? The one word that will cast it's spell over the year to come?
I tend to be a realist as well as a bit of skeptic, and I have never considered choosing a word or words that, almost by definition, would open me up to failure. Something like "lose weight", "be more focused", "creative", "energetic", "productive", "joy-full"? Of course I would like to accomplish all of these laudable things, but I truly dislike diets, find focus where and when I can, creativity is something that, most often, finds me rather than the other way around (ditto for productivity) and being "joy-full" is something that I aspire to every day anyway. For me, 'joy' is my "raison d'etre".
I used to wish for more time, but now that I have it, I fritter more of it away than I probably should, but I have always been prone to daydreaming. I think a bit of judicious daydreaming can cure whatever ails a person. I always wish for more energy, but that too ebbs and flows according to the vagaries of niggling maladies and various age and weather related aches and pains. No control there either.
What I can control though is my level of 'appreciation'.
I truly do believe, and have experienced, that the memories that I cherish the most are not, ncessarily, of those 'larger than life' moments (first real job, marriage, divorce, first 'big' quilt hanging etc etc) but are bonded to the smaller, more quiet, everyday, small things. My moments are sometimes seasonal; in the Winter, I like to stop to watch the newly returned swans gliding on the lake. I listen for the songs of returning red-tailed hawks and the strident shrieks of foraging bald eagles. I look forward to the return of the hummingbirds in March, the first daffodils of Spring and the sound of a friend's voice on the phone, or better yet seeing them once a week "at quilting". I try to remember that the ebb and flow of daily activities, no matter how boring they may sometimes seem, are the stuff that memories are made of.
During my regular work years, I had little enough time to appreciate or cherish the moments. Time did, and continues to, fly by me at a breakneck speed that is, at times, enough to cause whiplash. How is that I can so clearly recall a time in my life when I had time enough for all of life? I had time to work, time to create, time to cook and clean, to visit and play, and all without feeling as though each moment was sliding all too quickly through my fingers. Life changes, we change, moments slide by. Time hurries on.
Last year, my friend, Janet, gave me life changing book by Christian McEwen called "World Enough and Time". The book gave me 'permission' to appreciate the gift of having the time to daydream, to sit, to watch, to listen, to appreciate and to take in the small moments of my everyday life that all add up to the memories that I will always cherish.
There are so many things that I cannot control. Life is comprised of good and bad, happy and sad, sunshine and shadow. Not all days are productive, happy, fulfilling or positive. I cannot wave a magic wand and become thinner, younger, more creative, wealthier, happier or more productive.
What I can do is cultivate appreciation. I may not like feeling low at times, but I can appreciate that I will feel better. I cannot stop the inexorable flow of time through my fingers. What I can do is take the time to appreciate, and be glad for, the fact that I am around and relative healthy enough to have the gift of time.
I think, through the writing of this, I have found my word for the New Year.
It is "Appreciate".
What will you appreciate in your New Year? Do yu choose a word or words? DO you make a resolution? Do you keep it? What are your personal New Year's traditions? I'd love to hear!