It is New Year's Eve, and although I have never been a fan of celebrating this night, preferring always to stay in, to just be with family, and even, in the past few years when the kids were off to other places, going to bed long before midnight, tonight, this year, will be different. This year is the beginning of the 50th year of my life. I don't actually turn 50 until early February, and it seems as though, if I were being technical, I'd wait UNTIL my birthday, and plot the year from February to February, birthday 50 to birthday 51. But, I like the idea of this new YEAR being my birthday YEAR, so I'm choosing, instead, to begin tonight/tomorrow. Tomorrow is a new beginning. A trite and traditional one, to be sure, but in some ways, I like that. If my birthday weren't until later in the year, I probably would wait, but since it is close enough to January anyway, I'm choosingto begin celebrating having lived on this awesome planet for nearly 50 years, now.
I have big plans for this year. 50 of them, to be exact. Well, ok, so that's a bit of a lie. I don't actually have all 50 plans yet, but this is going to be the year of "50 Things to do the Year I Turn 50," so I'm working on the list. It's not a monumental list. It doesn't have things like "Vacation in Peru" or "Build a School in Nepal" or "Stop Global Warming." A lot of them are pretty mundane. But they are important goals to ME, and that's all that matters. This year, I'm focusing on me. That's not to say I plan to be selfish, or that I feel I am some sort of princess or that other people aren't important, even far more important. But, I'm important too, a fact that I seldom, if ever, give voice or creedence to, and I intend to, this year. And since the number one thing on my list is something to the effect of "Be alive - be alert to as many moments of life as you can, don't waste any more moments than you have to feeling sad, mad, angry, frustrated, irritated, etc. and instead, make it a point to just be open to life, to not take a single minute of this year for granted..." well, I decided I'd best start with TONIGHT. I wouldn't want to sleep through the beginning of something this big. That would be a very inauspicious beginning to this most awesome year of my life.
So, we've a bottle of champagne for later, I'm making some really delicious homemade caramel popcorn (because I love it, because it's kind of a pain to make and I don't make it often just because it takes "too long" but now, that excuse is just not going to be a valid one), and we are having a fire in the fireplace. I intend to read, maybe do a little embroidery, a little crocheting, possibly even doze a little on my really comfy couch in this super quiet house as I wait for midnight to toll. The kids are all celebrating elsewhere with friends. At midnight, I'll toast to another year past, but more importantly, I'll toast to 2013 - the most awesome and meaningful year of my life to come, because I intend to make it so, to live with purpose, and clarity and intent. Of course, I know full well not every minute will be like that. There will be plenty of not-so-memorable moments, hours, even days this coming year. I'm sure of it. Because that is life, no matter how we plan and hope for that not to be so. But in choosing to TRY to live a meaningful year, a year full of purpose and enthusiasm and a year of motivated, authentic living, I am already ahead of more than half the people on this planet who simply exist, drifting from day to day like their life is full of an endless supply of them that they will appreciate later. Later is now for me. This year will be the best of my life. I choose to make it so.
Monday, December 31, 2012
Monday, November 12, 2012
...so why should a plan to blog, or at least post a photo with a few words for the Instagram Challenge, daily, for an entire month, which got derailed after only two posts, surprise me? It doesn't! It's me. It's who I am, completely. I have the BEST IDEAS EVER, and often even get all the materials (or thoughts...) needed for them, only to have them sit... and sit... and sit some more. SOME of them get finished, some never do. But, at least I know it's me, totally and completely me, and can kind of chuckle at it. If I can't laugh at myself, at least at knowing myself so well that this doesn't even surprise me, even thought I REALLY wanted to do it, and really MEANT to do it, then I guess I'm just taking life far too seriously.
Too bad. I had a GREAT one for purple!
Too bad. I had a GREAT one for purple!
Saturday, November 3, 2012
|Big Lake, Alaska May, 2012 , 10:30 pm|
A year ago, October, somewhere in Massachusetts along the turnpike. Youngest daughter and I took a 4 day trip from NY to Maine to visit a potential college, and it was just one of the best trips ever. I spent four deliriously happy days, soaking in the changing leaves, the colors and feel of fall, traveling with my girl, seeing new sights, revisiting familiar places, everything. It was just a perfectly wonderful four days of traveling, and the palette of leaves throughout Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts was in full color. When I came across this picture, it was an instant, visual reminder of that short trip, and how full my heart was those four days. I'm grateful for that time, that exeperience, shared with my beautiful girl, who is now attending that same college we went to visit last October.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
I'm thankful for Thanksgiving, because, for me, it is all about being with my family, whatever family is able to gather that day. The food is the centerpiece around which the people I love gather, and talk, and laugh, and inevitably argue. But just a little bit. Not enough to ruin the day. And I miss family that day, too, but I'm still thankful I had them, or still have them but they just can't be at MY table that day.
Veterans' Day, while I am definitely grateful for the day off from school it gives me, has come to mean a great deal more than that to me, with friends and family who've sacrificed their lives, or years of their lives at least, to serve our country so that I don't have to. So that I can do all the things I do, all the things I take for granted. I will never find the words to express my deepest and most sincere gratitude to our country's veterans, both past and present. And even future - my next door neighbor just signed her papers to join the Navy after this year of college is done, and one of my favorite guys from this year's Senior Class long ago signed up for the Marines, leaving right after graduation.
Lastly is that writing thing. I don't intend to write a novel this month. Even if I wanted to, and had the time (I don't), I don't have a novel in me right now. I DO, however, have some very specific writing targets for the future, bigger ones than I've tackled ever before, and those excite, challenge and scare me, just a litte bit. But I've decided I'll use November to work on accomplishing the steps to those goals that I can, so that they become slightly more tangible by the end of this month.
SO...what does all of that have to do with the Instagram 30 Day Challenge I posted for November? I've decided to use those photography prompts and tie them in with the month's theme of Thankfulness. So, Day 1, (which was today by the way - yeah, not exactly starting out on the right foot, I know, since I didn't even remember to look for that challenge until tonight), for example, asks for a photo of "Leaves." I'm going to challenge myself to photograph leaves in such a way that they remind me of something to be thankful for, and to write a few words about it when I post it. I'm going to try to look at EVERY prompt for a photo as an opportunity to think of a reason to be thankful. I guess what I mean is, I'm going to try to be "creatively grateful" and to show that creativity and gratefulness through pictures and words this month. 30 days of them. Day 13 has me a little worried...but hey, that's the point, right? To be grateful for things you don't necessarily FEEL grateful for right now? We'll see how I do! Starting tomorrow, with "leaves" AND "sunset" to make up for today and get back on track for the month.
...just some random thoughts.
- I took the day off from school today. I finally had to. I broke a couple bones in my foot on Saturday, found out on Monday, tried to take a few days off this week to rest it, since he didn't cast it, just told me to stay off it and baby it, but we had NO SUBS Tuesday. They were going to pull another teacher, a remedial teacher, to cover my class. That's not right. He has his own kids to teach who need him, and so, I went in. I hobbled out to recess on the athletic field Tuesday, then decided I wouldn't do that again. I will switch and do "work room" indoors for a little while. Yesterday I didn't feel right not being there, leaving a sub to deal with Halloween madness, since our5th and 6th grade kids put on games for the younger kids all afternoon. But that involved a lot of up and down the stairs, and a lot of walking. By last night, I could barely walk at all. Several days of trying to walk on my heel, or the side of my foot, to avoid putting any pressure on the toe area has really hurt my heel, and my ankle, and my calf muscles. So, I finally decided I didn't care WHO my sub was, I wasn't going in today. I think it was a good decision. My foot really hurts this morning. I will just rest it and stay off it as much as possible today. Tomorrow most of the kids are going on a field trip with me left behind as the "work room" all day, so I won't have to actually use it much tomorrow, and then I have the weekend at home again. Hopefully by Monday, it will have started to heal a little bit. He suggested crutches, but... that's just a recipe for a broken leg, or arm, for sure!
- My oldest called me at school yesterday to tell me the security company he works for was looking for volunteers to come work in the areas hit by Hurricane Sandy (long Island and NJ) for up to a month, at double the rate of pay he makes here. Plus anything over 40 hours will be time and a half. Given that he will be working 12 hour shifts, 7 days a week, he stands to make a little money this next month! I encouraged him to take it. Actually NOT for the money, although that was the key for him. I encouraged him to take it because I think it will be "something different," and could lead to other things (who knows what it could lead to, or not, but he'll never know if he doesn't go) and I think it looks good to the boss he works for now, which might also lead to new opportunities in the future. He needs those. His job currently is not very exciting, not great hours, and not great pay. It COULD lead to something better at some point, which is what he is hoping for, so I thought accepting this challenge for the next month might well work in his favor in that regard. Not to mention that they have to keep his current job open for him, same hours/pay etc. when he returns. I told him last night, "It's an ADVENTURE!" By his response, I don't think he thinks you can find adventure in New Jersey. Especially when working 12 hours and sleeping most of the other 12! I will miss him, but I am proud of him for taking the chance.
- SO, because he is leaving today for a couple of weeks, at least, we did a quick shopping trip last night to get him a few necessities he will need. We also stopped at Applebees and had dinner together, just he,his father and I. He liked that. Because we were gone, unplanned, from home on Halloween, I told my 19 year old to just turn out the front light, "unless he wanted to hand out candy." If you knew him, you'd know that I said that jokingly. He's not the "handing out candy to little kids" type! We came home and the candy bowl, and bags, were empty, and the chair on the front porch had been moved to make it easier for kids with costumes to get around. My 19 year old sat outside last night and handed out Halloween candy. I was shocked. But in a good way.
- So, I guess my "great thought" for today, along with my randomness, is that kids really DO grow up at some point, don't they. Some take longer than others, for sure, and sometimes its in bursts and spurts, not steady over the long haul, but I have GOOD KIDS. All four of my kids are really GOOD KIDS. It's just nice to see some tangible evidence of that every now and again. I just hope the surprise of it all, when it happens, doesn't kill me. Probably not. It would seem that my weakness is my foot, after all, not my heart! :)