Friday, January 2, 2009

A New Year: Looking Forward, Looking Back

The time is upon us again. It's time to end one year and begin anew. Truthfully, the new year has always been kind of like birthdays to me. It's something you look forward to, you celebrate, but then the next day, you don't feel any different. Just like you don't feel any different the day before your birthday as you do the day after, I've never felt any different on New Years Eve, then I do on New Years Day. But, one thing that studying the Celtic Calendar and holidays has taught me is that the beginning of a new year is a time to evaluate... what progress have you made over the last year or few years and you want to continue improving on, and what hasn't been working well and need to be changed.

Our house was kind of a crazy place around Saimhain (Halloween) the celtic new year, so I wasn't able to really do this. So, I figure that the western new year is a great time to make it up.

So, here are my thoughts...

Things I'm proud of:

1) I've really started working on my tendency to get defensive when confronted with my short comings, and I feel I have made and continue to make great strides in this area. I've realized that I'm human, we all make mistakes, and that doesn't make me less of a competent person. I've also learned that when you admit upfront to a mistake and then go about figuring out how to fix it, any other people in the situation are left with nothing to say but to help you figure out how to go forward. It's when I get defensive and try to make excuses for the mistake that the other person is invited to harp on the mistake in an effort to get me to admit to it. If I just admit to it up front, they have no place to go but forward.

2) I've fulfilled one of my long time goals of maintaining a consistently updated blog. Yes, what you are reading is a direct fulfillment of one of my goals. When I was little, I absolutely hated to write. The sight of a black piece of paper or blog window would terrify me to my very core. What if I couldn't come up with anything good? What if I couldn't come up with anything at all? My mom was a math person and not a writer. Therefore the one thing our homeschool lacked was English instruction. In the days before homeschool co-ops and networking between families, she did the best she could. It wasn't until I got to college that I was really challenged in this area. But the amazing things was that I realized that looking at a blank piece of paper or a blank blog window was actual a thrill and not a terrifying experience. It was my opportunity to express myself - my feelings, my thoughts, my opinions. And that brings me to the next thing I'm proud of.

3) I've become more and more comfortable with having and creating opinions. In my household there was one opinion, my dad's. If you didn't agree with it you were SOL. And there was no "agreeing to disagree". Either you agreed with him or... you agreed with him, and the discussion could not end until you admitted that you agreed. This training has taken me many, many years to over come. I'm still learning to trust my gut, but it's gotten so much better. I now can sit with a person with whom I disagree and have a civilized discussion without getting defensive (see point #1). I've learned to stand up for what I believe in even if it is not the popular opinion. I've also learned that in some situations, when social injustice or abuse of other people are not at stake, that it's ok to just smile and nod, neither agreeing nor disagreeing with an other in order to create harmony within a group. I do not need to be that battle harden feminist who most correct all wrongs, alienating those around her even when it's not going to make a lick of difference.

4) I've really made great strides in my crafting skills. I can now cut curves with just my Xacto knife, without a curve cutting tool, only a guideline. I've designed invitations from scratch for a friend's wedding that she actually liked! And in the year to come, I look forward to putting the finishing touches on those invitations and sending them out for her. I've acquired some amazing tools! Some allow me to do things I couldn't do before, some just make things I could already do easier. I've become proud of my self given status of Paper Crafter (and in case you were going to ask, "you mean like scrap booking?" NO! It's not at all like scrap booking!) I've also realized that crafting and being creative are the ways I de-stress and re-energize and therefore, I should see that time as important, and the money spent as worth wild.

5) I've become much more confident in my ability to organize and make an event happen. I was given the wonderful opportunity of being the DOC (Day of Coordinator) for my best friend's wedding last year. It was a serious challenge and definitely stretched my comfort zone, but I was very proud of the job I did and the peace I was able to give the bride by taking on so many task the day of the wedding. I also saw all the planning and organizing that I had done for my own wedding come together and pay off. I saw my friends and family having fun in a stress free environment as they set up the site, even though I had asked them to do more and carry more responsibility then they had probably even been ask of for a wedding. I also learned from the "mistakes" that I made and hope that when I have the opportunity to be the DOC for my friends (whose invite I'm doing), that it will be an even better experience both for me and for the bride and those involved.

Things I'm looking forward to seeing change...

1) My weight! I've put on about 40 lbs since I left California and I'm almost back up to my heaviest. I'm not comfortable with the way I look or the way I feel. I love food, and I love sitting on the couch in the evenings, but I want to lose weight more! Jay and I have already started changing the way we eat, and being more aware of that. And we're looking at joining the YMCA or a gym of some sort. I'm a dancer at heart and want to get back to feeling like one!

2) My wedding planning business ideas! I've been toying with the idea of trying to make a go at wedding planning. I know the industry is very competitive, but like an old professor once told me, the best will always rise to the top. My first goal with this is to get my website up. That won't cost me anything, and will be the first thing I need. Then I'll get a nice photo book and start putting pictures of Jess' and my weddings in it to show as a portfolio. After that, I'll see what I can do about finding other people who are willing to let me plan their weddings for free or a very minimal charge so that I can keep building my portfolio.

3) Smoking. :-[ This is something that I've known since I started, I wouldn't do all my life. And although I LOVE the ritual associated with smoking, I really don't like the way it makes me feel afterwards. And don't ask me what the ritual of smoking is like. If you've never smoked you won't understand, and if you've ever smoked then you know exactly what I'm talking about and don't have to ask. This is also an important step in getting to my next goal.

4) Getting pregnant! This is a fun, exciting, scary, and frustrating goal, mostly because there isn't much I can do to make it happen any faster. In order for us to have a child, Jay has to have a job that will support us. Now, we are already looking down the road at elminiating some of our monthly bills (by paying credit cards off etc.), but no matter what, we can't do it on the salary he makes right now. I know what you're thinking, "The man being the sole breadwinner?!?! How 1950's of you? Are you really the hard core feminist that we've all known and loved?!?!" The answer my friends is, "yes!". And probably deserves an entire blog to itself, but the short version is that I WANT to spend my entire day truly raising and guiding my child. I don't feel like it's my duty or what I'm "supposed" to do, it's what I truly WANT to do and I can only imagine the frustration and resentment I would have for the day care worker or nanny with whom I had to drop my child off with and who got to be with my child all day while I went off to work like a chump! In addition, when a hard, tough look is taken at the cost of childcare, it would eat up much of my salary, and therefore, the loss of my salary would happen either way. So, here I stand, dutifully taking my birth control and trying not to push Jay in his quest to find a position that A) he likes and B) pays him what he's worth, while I resent every pregnant woman I see and can feel my eggs getting older by the second.

5) Get a new tattoo. I've been wanting to start on a half sleeve for a long time. The only thing that's held me back is finances and the lack of a clear idea for the design. Well, the finances are still an issue, but I'm making real progress on the design. I've made some decision on what I like and don't like, for instance, I don't want the traditional sleeve that ends with a straight, defined line. I want it to be varried and end more natually. I want it to encorporate both thistles and shamrocks to represent both the scottish and irish ancestory. I want it to have some celtic knotwork, some vine work and some quotes. I'm thinking about making the spine of the vines out of letters instead of lines. Anyway, between me, Shannon and Jay, I think we can get a descent design going and I can start getting it inked. Woohoo!

I have a million other goals for my life as well (everything from make a real cheese cake using my spring form pan, to working with my therapist on how to include my dad in my life in a more healthy way), but I think these are the big ones. I'll try and keep you all updated on the progress of these goals.

So what are your goals for the year? We'd love to hear about them!

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