Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Resolutions

I'm not a big New Year's resolution maker. The turning of the calendar never really held much significance for me. My life tends to have a rhythm regardless of the date and I enjoy each season for what it holds. But this year I feel different.

I was at the library the other day, a couple cities over and needed a new card to check out books from this different location. I handed the librarian my license so she could enter my information.

"Oh, you live in Fenton!" She exclaimed. "My niece lives there."

"Yes, I replied, we just moved there and we love it!"

After I checked out my books I reflected on what I had said to the librarian. "We just moved there." ?

We hadn't just moved to Fenton, we've lived here almost 5 years! I hadn't meant to lie, when I said it, it felt honest when it came out of my mouth. It does feel like we just moved here!   

On the way home, I thought about the last 5 years and realized that it was difficult for me to distinguish one year from the next. I had individual scattered memories but had a hard time placing them in sequential order.

Much of the reason I write this blog is to not only share our farm with all of you, but to log our lives for our own purpose. In so many ways it's a journal. The scary thing is, that many times I go through past posts and don't even remember writing them.

What all this ranting boils down to is that I need to be more present in my life. My dad passed away right before we moved and it was an incredibly stressful time. I buried my feelings and went into "go" mode. I could morn later, I could reflect later...things needed to get done and I was the one to do them.

The problem is that I haven't switched out of "go" mode. I find myself rushing even when there's no call for it. I'm always three steps ahead of myself, thinking of the next thing that has to be done, and I find myself not paying attention to the task at hand. I'm often clumsy and forgetful and I know that lack of presence is the reason.

Over the years I've changed...and we all change. But I'm not so sure I'm happy with this change. I've become less poetic, less romantic. I see things more factually than artistically. My writing has changed too. I've become more "list like" and less figurative. I've found that that artistic part of my old personality is hard for me to tap into anymore. I get glimpses of it once in a while and it thrills me. I need to chase that.  

So this year I'm making resolutions. If for nothing more than to have them down in some sort of tangible form so I can look back next year and see how I did.  The first, to "be more present" seems to be the theme of the following 9. In many ways each resolution is a specific way for me to be more aware of my life.

  1. Be more present
  2. Eat more whole foods: Especially in the winter. When the garden is in it's prime, we eat lots of fruits and vegetables. But in the winter I make a lot of casseroles, and meat-and-potato kind of meals. We can do better here.
  3. Read at least a book a month: I love to read, and reading helps me to be a better writer. But like everything else, it gets put on the back burner. I like to read before bedtime, but many times we stay up so late that I collapse into bed. So going to bed earlier is part of this.
  4. Finish a book I’ve been working on for years: I've been working on a fiction piece for years and I need to carve out time to work on it. It's important to me and it deserves my time.
  5. Take time for art: I love to draw and paint. Being artistic helps me feel my true self. I often forget that.
  6. Practice my violin more: Like art, making music also centers me and acts like a meditation.
  7. Find a place for everything: We recently organized our art room and the pleasant feeling of having a place for everything is addictive! We need to branch this system out in more areas of our home.
  8. Spend more time in nature: When I lived in the woods I was in nature everyday. It became a defining character of my personality. We have the farm, and I love it, but it's not quite the same as a walk in the woods with my camera, or sitting by a lakeside.
  9. Read the bible more often: When I read God's word it helps focus my intentions for the day. I remember why I'm here and how I should live my life. I was subscribed to a daily devotion website and I'd drink my coffee and read scripture each morning at my computer. Something happened with my spam folder or something, and I no longer get the e-mails. It's a lame excuse and I need to re-connect, or simply open my bible that sits next to me on my desk. 
  10. Practice Ballet: I need to be more active. Writing pins me to my computer seat and I've gained weight over the years. I love yoga, but I still haven't worked out how it fits into my faith. (Still exploring that) I was in the best shape of my life when I danced. I love classical ballet and miss that experience. I've found some You-Tube videos with ballet routines and I've starting doing them. It's weird how the language of ballet comes right back to me. I had a Russian ballet instructor for 10 years and I can still hear Maria calling out terms in her abrupt way, clapping her hands at us. She was strict but I loved her. If I can work up some endurance, I'd like to treat myself to a pair of ballet slippers and maybe take a class or two. 
So there they are. A year's worth of promises to myself. Hopefully 2015 will be more mindful, more memorable, more lovely than the past 5. 


Jennifer Ludwigsen said...

These are beautiful goals and I share many of the same......and I see your poetic nature in your writing all the time, so while I think it's awesome to have something to work towards, don't be too hard on yourself. Sometimes our perspective of ourselves needs a little New Years resolution of it's own!

Happiest of New Years to you and yours! Keep up the amazing work :)

Jennifer Sartell said...

Thank you Jennifer, it means so much to hear you say that. I wish you all successes in your resolutions as well. :)

Meredith said...

Lovely; thank you for sharing with us. You know, when you write from the heart like this, all your romantic and natural artistic talent shines through. Best wishes for a successful new year!

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