The Surprises Brought By the Past Year

Every November I evaluate the previous twelve months.  I reflect upon the birthday goals I set, I think about the last time I made a promise to focus on various areas of my life, and I think about whether or not I accomplished all I set out to do.  What I do not do, however, is pull up the blog post where I wrote about the goals I set because I find that causes me to stress about what I didn’t complete or pursue.  Instead, I simply look back at what I believed was important to me, think about what all I did in the previous year, and kinda compare the two lists.

I remember that last year I wanted to keep exercising, I wanted to keep working on my writing, I want to pursue comedy at some level, and I wanted to focus on my marriage.

Today, as I began reflecting upon the past year, I could honestly say that I do feel as if I accomplished all of my goals.  And that is great.

But what is really cool is that so many more amazing things happened this year.

Surprises.  Things I couldn’t have planned nor predicted even if I tried.

Here are some of those things:

  • About a year ago, a person I’d encountered on a rainy field trip five years ago happened to move to town.  We reconnected upon that move.  But in the past year, she has filled this empty space in my heart that I so desperately needed to fill.  This space was left open for a friend who totally understands me, validates me, appreciates me, and forgives me when I’m not perfect.  My dear friend has filled this vacant spot in my life and, as a result, I’ve managed to grow in other friendships too.  Beyond the friendship I’ve developed with her are the relationships our children share which have been life-changing for my oldest son.  God’s fingerprints are all OVER this situation.
  • Not only have I continued writing but I’ve joined a local writer’s group. I’m not nearly as active as I imagine I will be one day when I am no longer homeschooling and driving kids to a thousand places every week.  They are forgiving of my circumstances, however, and encourage me to attend whenever I have a chance.  It’s pretty awesome.  I’m proud of the work I’m producing when I get around to working, that is.  The most surprising bit of information I’ve gained from being a member of the group, however, is that, apparently, my greatest strength is in writing for children.  I also have another play in the works.
  • Miracles are happening in my marriage. I won’t divulge details but I’ll just assure you, reader, that I never thought things would be good again but they are.  Never give up.  There is always hope.
  • Another shocking change that happened this year was that I started painting and drawing.  I’m not awesome at it but it’s fun.  I’ve always known I was an artist but I never let myself pursue that before because I didn’t think I was any good.  What I learned, however, is that you don’t have to be good.  You just have to do it.  The rest will come.

This is a Halloween piece I worked on in my sketchbook.

Additionally, I’ve been amazed to find myself admitting that I am not a gardener and I don’t even want to be one. I really enjoy planting stuff during the late spring.  Beyond that, it sucks.  I hate the heat, the weeding, the watering, the bug bites on my tooshy.  So, I’ve decided to just admit that I am much better at being a CSA member, supporting local agriculture and feeding my family well as a result, than I am at gardening.  I will not pretend any more!

And finally, I was shocked to learn that I like breaks.  Breaks from people, breaks from media, breaks from screens, from the internet, breaks from the demands placed on me by myself.  I have had several opportunities this year to simply relax, read, watch tv, and not do much else.  In other words, I’ve given myself permission to take some time off from the constant THINKING.  I like the breaks so much, in fact, that I’m going on another hiatus.  This doesn’t mean I won’t be blogging or writing… it just means that my first priority is good food, silly times, board games, glasses of wine, Bob’s Burgers marathons.  And I can’t wait.  Any plays, chapters of books, and essays can wait to be written next year after the chaos of the holidays is over.  Right now, it’s survival mode.


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