Saturday, January 3, 2015

Looking Back at 2014, Looking Forward to 2015

     Looking back:

     I don't know about you, but for me 2014 was interesting in a lot of ways.  Of course, there were the usual medical issues and more. On the physical side on the positive- I did manage to remain cigarette-free for all of 2014.  In two weeks I will hit the 13 month mark! There were great things that happened on the personal front as well as difficult. Good things at work and difficult.  Pretty much a normal year for most people.  I have had years like this before- who hasn't?  Somehow though it didn't feel normal, I just felt like something in me was off.

      I also found that I just didn't have the energy or patience to write.  Looking at my blog dashboard, I only wrote 14 posts between one year ago and today.  That's not a lot for someone who is a known motormouth!  I would open a new page, stare at it for a while, become frustrated and delete the auto-draft.  I did that a lot on my other projects as well.  I didn't have the stamina to push through.  I just didn't have much to say.  Well, I did. but it was often snarky because I found myself irritated a LOT.  I wondered occasionally if it was a mild depression because I didn't rebound as quickly from the news of the latest diagnosis as I normally do.  It's more than that though, it's more than what's going on in my life.  I would find myself reading or watching the news and going back and forth between just shaking my head, wondering what the heck is going on in this world or giving thanks that I wasn't raising a child in it.

     This year I watched the events of the year unfold around me, around this country and around the world and I just could not push through all of the overwhelming negative to find the positive in it.  We; people-friends-families- neighbors-towns- the whole country; are more divided than I can remember in my life- and I was born in the 60's!  We are divided racially (Still? Again?), politically, religiously, and in terms of values and we are about it than ever before.  I found myself shocked at the things that come out of the mouths (and keyboards) of both strangers and people that I thought I knew.  It gave me a huge sense of disappointment in them for what was being said, how it was being said and the actions being taken.  It gave me a sense of disappointment in myself for not recognizing those traits before things came to a head.  I deleted/"unfriended"/walked away from a surprising number of people in my online life and intentionally allowed relationships to lapse in my real life.  The negativity was just too much.

     Now I know that there are people out there every single day who are doing good things.  People who are trying to make the world a better place.  It's just become hard to find them when their stories are drowned out by discord, by rudeness, by disrespect, by hate.  Just writing this and reflecting upon it has made me feel so tired and so helpless that I had to stop, close it and come back to it later.  Needless to say, I was rather looking forward to the end of the year and a new beginning.

Looking Forward:    

    It's a new year.  I didn't make a list of resolutions this year as I often have in the past.  Like so many, my resolutions tend to be out the window by February.  Last year's certainly did.  :-)   This year, instead, I am making it just one goal to "shake it off".  Last year was a big step backward for me in many ways and rather than allow myself to be mired in the things I cannot change I need to learn to let it go and move on to things I do have the ability to influence.  When my husband and I were separated I repeated the Serenity Prayer a lot.  To the point that it was almost by rote.  When that changed, I kind of let that drop off and that may not have been the best idea.  It's a simple thing but it allowed me to step back and remind myself that I can't take on or take in everything because I tend to take things to heart.

    In an effort to turn things back around  I have decided to utilize two "mantras" for 2015.  First, as I mentioned, is the Serenity Prayer:

The second is this:  

    Keeping these in mind should allow me to let go of what has been weighing me down and to re-focus my attention on all of the myriad of blessings that fill my life and on the wonderful things that people are doing for the world around them.  They are many, they are important, and they deserve my attention far more than any of the rest of the nonsense that's been going on.

     The first step is to make it through this Back-to-School rush (classes begin a week from Monday) and then get back into a routine.  Rush ends around the 18th so the light is at the end of the tunnel.  Then it will be time to make this the best year yet.  Bring it on 2015~ I am ready for you!  



Wren said...

Oh, Julie, I'm SO glad you posted! I've missed you throughout the year, even as I knew you were going through some very dark, rough patches in your life. Sometimes, the daily manure overwhelms even the most determined attitude of gratitude.

But I also knew you'd be back as soon as you were able to see daylight again and had some time to recover yourself. Life can be so hard, so downright mean, it's no wonder that even optimists get cranky sometimes.

I love your mantras for the year. The first is such a lovely old classic, a perfect grounding prayer for all of us, religious or otherwise. And the second! Well, it made me laugh out loud--at 6:30 in the morning--it's so appropriate for these confusing, disheartening, often dark times. I may adopt it myself. ;o)

My wish for you: That you'll have a much more peaceful time this year than last; that laughter will lift your heart and spirits many times each and every day; that your brimming love for the world and everyone around you is returned to you fourfold; that you and your doctors can bring your health problems under control; and that you'll find happiness around every corner.

Be well, my friend. Be hopeful.

Sending a warm, gentle hug,

Julie Faulds said...

Thank you Wren! One of my bright lights this past year has been when your blog arrives in my mailbox. Thank you for always being there. <3

Laura Marlowe said...

This was a really great post. I really like the images you included, especially with the monkeys.
I am actually working on starting my own gratitude practice with a particular intention.
I would love to get some of your feedback/advice
All the best,