Sunday, January 13, 2019

Welcome to January

Happy New Year, friends! Yes, I know it is January 13. But if you have followed me here, it will be no surprise to you that I am welcoming 2019 in my own way, in my own time. I have been thinking lately about how -- at least for me -- there is no bright "one year ends, another begins" marker, except that pesky calendar. It seems more to me these days that I feel the phases of life and time and seasons in a more gradual way. I don't know if this is related to aging, or to a lifestyle where I am not bound to a 5 day, 8-5 work day, or what.

Or is it rebellion? In the past, I have been enamored with the concept of choosing a word for the year, to serve as a guiding theme from January 1 to December 31. I have tried goal setting and list making and year-end summaries and read-so-many-books or make-so-many-sketches challenges. It felt satisfying at times back then, but right now, it doesn't feel right.  In fact, it feels restrictive and artificial.

As I was pondering the idea of a guiding word for the coming year, whether to even try to identify one, the word that kept popping into my head was FLOW. I suppose, at present, it most accurately characterizes my intention for the present and near future.  I guess that is tied into my thinking about time and phases -- how they aren't marked by clear boundaries, but sort of flow into one another, with situations and feelings evolving, instead of beginning and ending with clear deadlines or marked-off checklists.

Or maybe it's a reflection of having come through a long difficult time, in which my brother was seriously ill and died, and in which my mom suffered very serious injuries and illness and has made a miraculous recovery. I suppose it is hard not to come through huge, consuming family crises like that without a changed sense of priorities. And really, when one is immersed in situations like those, time does seem to change -- minutes and hours at hospital bedsides expand, and days and weeks disappear. I guess it's no wonder that my sense of time feels different right now.

I think just accepting and being present was how I have coped. And so FLOW is part of that -- just doing the best one can with what comes, embracing the joy in moments, acknowledging the pain of hard things, and knowing that life keeps going.

So, as I think about where I am now, what is going on around me with my family and friends, I come back to feeling that what I want to do is keep FLOWING with it all. Being present. Sharing fun and laughter and tears and serious talks. Letting bits of creativity fill parts, even if it's just minutes, of every day. Finding satisfaction in work. Knowing that tomorrow or next week or next month might be different, with unexpected challenges, and that's okay. 

I hope that your 2019 is off to a happy and peaceful start, friends.

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