Another New Year

New Years 2016

2015 was a wonderful, horrible, frantic, boring year for me. There were highs and lows, just like every other year. Looking back, I am amazed at all that happened in my world.

I moved out of my big beautiful condo into a small apartment. I loved my condo, but the expenses were more than I could afford on a part-time income. It also had begun to feel a little obscene for one person to live in so much unused space. I love the little apartment I live in now, and every room gets used regularly. Even though the apartment is small, it fits my life much better than the condo did. I have one room dedicated to my painting and it’s nice to be able pop in there and draw or paint something as the inspiration hits me.

I had my paintings displayed five times in 2015. For someone who didn’t start painting again until late 2014 that’s pretty amazing. Every single show came to me through friends; I have not had to beat the streets for exhibition space. I am grateful beyond belief that so many people have liked my work and believed in my talent.

In April I had a man I love deeply return to my world. We have both made a lot of mistakes through the years we’ve known each other and we still struggle with how this relationship can work. For all the faults and problems, this is a person I can talk to for hours about anything and everything. One thing we both know is that there is a deep connection that neither of us has been able to walk away from for any measurable time. I have come a long way in letting go of the standard expectations and living in the moment.

In May I was in a car accident. The traffic lights were not working at a downtown intersection and when I took my turn to cross the street, I was almost completely across all the lanes when a car in a lane without good visibility decided to accelerate right into my passenger side. No one was seriously injured, but my car was in the shop for two months and the total cost of repairs was over $10,000. I love my obnoxiously bright yellow Prius and I am grateful it is still in my life.

My sister and I went to Ireland in October. It was a country I always wanted to see and I was grateful for the opportunity to take the trip. The driving was a challenge, but we both survived and can almost laugh about it now.

I lost my mom in December of 2015. She’d been doing well for the entire year and when she injured her back again right before the holidays, we assumed she would follow her normal cycle of taking her health to the very brink and then rallying back to health. This year though her body was too weak to do what her indomitable spirit wanted it to do. Her entire family is still struggling with the loss.

My writing brought me challenges and joy in 2015. I feel like I am improving with every post. I have people I have never met following my blog and they are actually going back into the archives to read older posts. It’s hard to explain how weird that feels. I have taken to heart the James Altucher quote: “If you can’t BLEED or KILL or SLASH YOUR GUTS with your word, then keep it to yourself.” Following this philosophy has made me grow as a writer and as a person.

I am not big on celebrating New Years Eve or on making resolutions.  I believe your New Year starts each year on your birthday; I believe that if you have something in your life you need to change, then you need to start working on that change immediately; I prefer spontaneous get-togethers over planned festivities. Having said all that, life still has me in a reflective mood today.

Moving forward, I expect great things in the coming year. Utopia for me would be living on a beach, making a good living from my writing and painting, with friends and family near and yet still having the alone time I treasure. The thought of that life makes me smile and I believe living that life would make me a very happy person indeed.

I intend for all of these things to happen and I will do my best to facilitate this vision by working to achieve them. I already write every day, even if it’s only a few paragraphs. I intend to add sketching every day to my list of daily activities. I lost my habits of daily meditation and affirmations for a while and I am returning to both of those habits. Anything you want to improve on should be practiced daily and I intend to do just that, even if it means letting go of other things.

On a global level, 2015 was filled with a lot of frightening occurrences. There was an escalation of racial tension; terrorists put themselves back in the news in horrendous ways; mass shootings occurred with frightening frequency; and police all over the country were caught on film treating people young and old with a level of force that is outdated and uncalled for. 2016 needs to be a year of change for all of us. I see the hatred and the fear in the world and I wish I had a solution. It won’t be easy and it will take some difficult conversations and bold resolutions.  We, as a society, need to make a stand on what we will and will not accept in our world. I believe Dr. Martin Luther King gave us a great starting point when he said: “I have decided to stick to love…hate is too great a burden to bear.”

I wish you much love in 2016.

What are your thoughts?