This week has been one of the quietest holiday weeks I can remember. With family in Missouri and kids who have several parents and boyfriends’ parents to visit, the end of the year is typically full of travel and hosting and cooking and cleaning and packing, and this year we decided to just stop the madness.
Aside from a couple of days around the 25th, we have done a whole lot of nothing. We stayed home, and have been sitting and reading, and watching random stuff on Netflix. I am grateful my husband agreed to the travel-free week. Those who know me know I love a road trip and all the fun of family gatherings, but given my new challenges with anxiety, I have appreciated the time to just be.
As 2017 draws to a close, I am struck with how quickly it seemed to pass, and how much I didn’t get done that I planned to do. My One Little Word for 2017 was Prolific, and based on what I thought that word would mean to me this year, I didn’t accomplish much. So many creative projects undone. Words I didn’t write. Organizational efforts that never even got started.
But then a friend of mine reminded me to take a look at what I did do this year…
I intentionally decided not to apply for any craft shows this year, and planned to write more fiction. I did, benefiting a lot from some time spent in writing workshops with Lela Davidson. But I was stuck in a rut when it came to the novel I’ve been trying to write for the last few years. For that reason, the “prolific” choice was looking pretty lame.
If I use the definition of the word as my guide, I am struck by how successful I actually was. I experienced some of the most creative moments in 2017 that I have in many years prior. I’m pretty sure it helped that I was unencumbered by the pressure to figure out how to monetize my work. That was a revelation – the need for non-income-generating creativity time. It led to some new ideas that wouldn’t have come along otherwise.
I also saw some beautiful places.
I spent quality time with friends and family.
There is also something about being in my fifties. Being old enough to know that I am completely in control of my own destiny, and that there is literally no one around me whose opinion I value more than my own. I have surrounded myself with friends who are supportive and encouraging of my work and personal goals and perspectives. They and my family cheer me on when I step off into the unknown and holds the rope if I slip a bit. But mostly, I am fully confident in my choices.
I mentioned anxiety earlier… it’s hormone-related, as I head into pre-menopause. As I worked on this post, I actually experienced a pretty major hot flash, the other gift that my fifties has given me along with the confidence thing. Actually, anxiety attacks have been more frequent than hot flashes, but this one included not only a rapid heart beat (rhb), but also sweaty hands and a tight chest. So, while the bulk of this post is all about the positive and the light and the amazing things that come with mid-life, the universe knows how to drive it home that there is yin to the yang. Darkness with the light. It’s all about balance.
Happy New Year, friends. May you find balance in 2018 – whatever that looks like for you.
Also published on Medium.