Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A new year begins...the turning of a page...now, what to write on that page?

So today is the first day of a new year. It is 2013 and I am struggling with the choice of making resolutions or not. I used to make them every year, but every time I didn't complete them I ended up feeling like a failed, rather than realizing that those "resolutions" weren't as pressing as perhaps they were at the start of the year.

2012 was an interesting journey for me. We lost some dear loved ones this year and I watched a few friends say goodbye to their husbands for a final time in this life. It was a heart wrenching year in many ways. At the same time though, we have been blessed with many memories with good friends and family. We were able to travel to my hometown in California to visit with my parents, sister, brother (who came down from Napa to see us), my Nana (father's mother) and my Grandmother (mother's mother). After 3 years away for Christmas it was a nice opportunity to visit with them as well as many of my cousins. It was hard not having my grandfather there, but I know he would be delighted to know that we were all together for Christmas this year.

This last year also brought some answers to my health woes and though not FULLY solved or under control, I am well on my way to feeling MUCH better. Cutting out the gluten has really made a difference for me and I plan to stick to it. I have seen progress, though slow, in my weight loss and though I could be disappointed and kick myself for not working harder to succeed, I'm choosing to focus on the progress that has been made towards my goals.

It was also a year of "new" for the 4 of us. Our son started 4-H in addition to his Boy Scout commitment which added another shuffling of kids around on Mondays. He remains active in Band at school playing the Alto Sax for a 4th year and added the Trio Pan (three steel drums) to his repertoire this year. He continues to excel academically in all subjects and is greatly enjoying Tae Kwan Do, and has had great success in that too. He continues to participate and succeed in Mathcounts (a form of Mathletes) and is excited about this year's competition. :-) Our daughter remains greatly involved with 4-H and continues to excel in playing Lead Pan (steel drum) and singing in the school choir, as well as having great success in Tae Kwan Do. She was requested to participate in the Demo team and in doing so, we have added ANOTHER day of carting kids around in "mom's taxi". She has also added Spanish club and CWHS Live (their news station at school) this last year, keeping me EVER busy with the driving.

This last year I did a lot of soul searching and spent a lot of time praying about what my next step in school should be. I have struggled over the ::cough "20 years" cough:: I have spent chasing my AA to decide on "what I want to be when I grow up". And here I sit, at 34 years old, with 2 teenagers planning their future educational and professional goals and I can honestly say that I have no idea. lol I have many interests and have never had one of those interests be something that I was unable to succeed at once I put my mind to it. (I think most people are like that though.) So in "settling" on a career field, ie. What I want to be When I grow up, feels like exactly that....settling.

I hate that word in this context. "Settling"....it just sounds so limiting. It makes me feel like once I "settle" that I am then locked into that one thing and that everything else I enjoy, have passion for and ambition to succeed in is no longer an option....because I "settled"...I "chose". It is that whole "you made your bed now lie in it" deal that makes it hard to decide. So I go back and forth, English.....Psychology......Writing....Music....Photography.....Nursing......Theater...Journalism...Baking.
.Cooking.....Teaching...Anthropology....AHHHHH. The moment I feel like I have made my choice and "settled", not 2 days later I'm changing my mind. I  know it is fear. I am afraid of making the wrong choice. I'm afraid of failing. I'm afraid that I "can't"....that I won't be good enough....that I won't succeed....that I will be laughed at and that there will be no "career" in the field I chose.

After many conversations with my wonderful and patient husband (he has to be because, let's face it....though relatively "normal",  I'm fairly neurotic when it comes to something I feel bears a great ton of weight), and several deep conversations with my amazingly supportive mother (she had to be that way I think because I was CONSTANTLY on to the "next" thing growing up), we came to a conclusion that seems to have appeased my neurosis. At least for the time being. I think it appeases it because it isn't really a choice at all. lol Basically the conclusion was to stick with my original (20 years ago when I started) major of English. As a BA degree this will be a good basis for me to then "fall into" whatever it is I am supposed to do with my career.

The minor, I'm not settled on at this point. Photography I don't need a degree in to do.....I do it now....lots of training, lots of schooling, lots of hands on experience and a lot of time spent picking the brains of wonderful photographers I'm blessed to know and who offer sound, seasoned advice...but without a degree in it, I can still have my business. Creative writing, music, theater.....always a passion for me. Always go back to those, every time. If I'm sad, I write, or I sing, or a dive into that fantasy world (yes even at 34 years old) and imagine what it might be like to play that heroine of that big play. If I'm happy, I'm singing....anything....but it is no doubt that those things feed my inner self, they soothe my soul and comfort me...always have. So, I can never let go of those completely.

That is the very thing that has me all mixed up in my head and my heart. We tell our children to follow their dreams. To dream big and to reach for them. Yet when we become parents we seem to forget that we need to reach for ours too....not at the expense of our kids, not in a way that hinders their own reaching....but in a way that shows them how to reach for theirs, that it is never too late to live a dream....that they TRULY are capable of having their dreams come true. Granted, the best thing for ME was to put my dreams and goals on the back burner. Not give up completely, not brush them off forever, but to set them aside while my kids were younger so that I was properly equipped with helping them to establish their individual identities and discover their passions in life. I have always felt though, that my indecision was a bad example to my kids....how could I teach them to follow their dreams if I not only wasn't following mine, but I no longer really knew WHAT my dreams were?!?

I would love to say that I know now....but I don't.....and you know what? That is ok. It is ok that I don't know what I want to be when I "grow up"....maybe I'm never growing up. I know I'm getting older, I know our time here in this life is "short"....but maybe I won't ever lose that active imagination. Maybe I won't ever stop seeing shapes in clouds, hearing a melody in the air and writing a song in my head. Maybe I will forever imagine myself as that heroine of the story, write characters that have a little piece of me in them and invest my whole heart into every book I read or write. Maybe I will never cease to see more than just a tree....but a whole story of that tree and translate that into a photo. I'm sure I will never stop seeing the beauty of the world, the intricate contradictions and the complex beauty of all that surrounds me....and I will forever feel compelled to capture that passion, pain, beauty and conflict I see. I don't know where it will lead me in life. Perhaps those things will never be part of my "career". They will however remain a part of me.....the ways that I express what (believe it or not) I struggle with verbally.

So on this first day of a new year, as I look at all I have learned about myself in the past year, and as I look to what 2013 might hold for me and my family, I have made just one resolution.

I will keep on the path I'm on, learning, growing, chasing dreams, stressing less, and getting back to who I am at the core of my being.

I am still a long way off to knowing "me" again, finding my "Dollface" again....but I AM finding, little by little, who I am not. The little pieces of me that I have discovered, I have found I rather like. I don't miss being angry all the time. I don't miss feeling worthless, lost, confused and alone. If there was just one little thing that I could share, one piece of advice that I could offer, one thing that I took away from this last year, it would be this:

Every night, I just keep "Counting my blessings, instead of sheep".

Focus on the positive, even when it seems impossible. Focus on what good you have done, not the ways you have failed. Focus on the good you WILL do, instead of the wrong you have done...it is the only way to truly heal. Focus on those who love you, and truly stand in your corner....do not invest so much of yourself into those who do not...or who only do when they want something. Focus on FORGIVENESS.....for yourself and for others. Remember that we are all on a journey, we all walk through an adventure, along different paths....and at different paces. In the end we all get to a destination...we can either lift each other up, or we can tear each other down...remember though, what you offer to others will be offered to you.

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