With love and respect I wish you all peace and happiness during the winter holiday season. This time of year brings up all the best and sometimes not so best feelings, but it is also always an opportunity to sit back and reflect on the wonderful and crazy thing it is to be alive.
There’s time in the New Year to worry about business burdens. For now spend time with someone who brings you joy. Give a dollar or a day to someone in need. Eat something you love. Sip something that tastes good. Stroke your pet. Kiss your kids and grandkids. Put bubbles in your bath. Reach around and pat yourself on your back.
At this time of year I am usually feeling warm and safe, wrapped comfortably in the events and experiences of the past year and somewhat reluctant to step into the next year. I am a historian. I like reflecting on the past. I also love my life and enjoy whatever I am doing. So while I look forward to new things, I’m never in a hurry to put the old year away, at least not until I’ve fully embraced it.
But my reflections, this year, are different. On December 31st I think I am going to say to 2019 “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” 2020 can’t come soon enough. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that great things didn’t happen.
On all fronts my life moved ahead. Professionally I’m still working with the BC FN Housing & Infrastructure Council and teaching at Vancouver Island University. As an author I launched Neekah’s Knitting Needles, I am in the final stages of editing Common Threads and a biography of Elizabeth May for middle schoolers for Orca and I’m preparing for my next book project.
Academically I have several articles almost ready for publication and I have presentations to deliver. as a designer I’ve never been so creative—exciting designs are emerging faster than I can document them.
This is beginning to sound like a Christmas letter…so to carry on…my family is healthy and well. I won’t list the great things they are doing or the challenges they are facing—in a good way I mean—challenges are the Olsen energy drink, the family upper. My children are in the prime of their lives, each taking on life at what sometimes feels like an extreme level but each becoming enriched and more capable with their experiences. What more could a mother want?
And Tex? I love being married and so does he and when that happens between people it’s pure magic. Add Piper to the family and it’s complete.
My life could not be any more interesting—I am living it to the brim. So why is my first reflection of 2019 such a downer? You might already have sensed the reason. I’m feeling the muchness of the life I have chosen for myself. Now I am evaluating each part through the lens of one question—am I doing each thing the best, the fullest, the most creative, the most exciting way possible? Easy answer. No.
I move forward in life on a lateral plane. I’ve never attempted to move vertically to the top of any field. I have too many interests to invest all my energy into a single endeavour. So I’ve always been happy being an A- person. An 80% person. I’ve never aspired to being an A+. It would take too much time. I’d miss all the other things I wanted to do.
I’m not complaining. I am exactly where I put myself. The trouble is that my preliminary assessment of my life in 2019 is somewhere between “improvement needed” and “satisfactory” and that is not an A-.
What do I do about it? Not such an easy answer. I have six days left to figure it out. “Don’t hurry,” you say. “You don’t need the answer by January 1st.”
I hear you. And the more I think about rearranging and reducing my “things I’m doing list” the better I feel.
Oh, and did I tell you I’ll be 65 years old in 2020? Maybe I’ll put some bubbles in my bath and enjoy the feeling of possibility.