|This seems like a good image to start off the year!|
Since the New Year started off by giving me a cold, I’ve decided it doesn’t deserve any good resolutions from me.
Just kidding, actually. I don’t usually make specific resolutions, because I find that the start of a new year isn’t really motivation enough to make me keep them. The cold, however, certainly has nothing to do with it. What I really prefer to do is think about what happened in the past year and see if I can reduplicate the good stuff.
This year I don’t have to look back very far to find some interesting events! Right after Christmas, I flew with my whole family to Kentucky for a cousin’s wedding. I hadn’t seen her, nor my other 6 cousins who also attended, for 18 years. It was almost like meeting for the first time – except that all of us instantly fell into sync with one another and got along splendidly. It’s amazing what barriers of time and distance kinship helps break down.
Besides that, I also met (truly for the first time) my new niece. She was just born in October, so she’s at that incredibly cute 3-month-old stage, with a head-full of upstanding hair. It refuses to lie down and makes her twice as charming as any usual baby – though I might be a bit prejudiced. Her big sister was there too, of course, and even though I’ve seen her fairly often, this is the first time she’s been old enough to recognize and get to know me.
In short, the end of my year was full of novelty – new family and friends and experiences for the last week of 2012.
|New cities, too: I'd never been to Louisville before!|
It feels like an auspicious way to lead into 2013, actually.
With the new year, I’ve been contemplating some new directions in my work and writing. I think it might be time to begin transitioning out of teaching into a more professional writing career. The thought is a bit daunting, because I don’t know yet if I can make it as a writer, or whether I’ll end up needing to look for part-time work.
In any case, though, the past few days of travel have taught me that new meetings – even ones which made me quite apprehensive beforehand – can be both delightful and enlightening. My cousins are all very interesting, motivated people, who had plenty to share with me as we talked. And of course during any interaction with a child we rediscover the sense of wonder which is so essential to art.
Similarly, even though my nerves are definitely a bit jangled by the prospect of cutting back my teaching hours and plunging into new employment territories, such a move must also have the potential for delight and wonder. Who knows what ideas I’ll learn and discover, what people I’ll meet and befriend as I move along? The prospect is actually quite appealing.
|Looking behind helps us get ahead!|
Just a couple of weeks ago, I watched the new Hobbit movie, and was pleased that the dialogue preserved the line where Gandalf says that looking ahead took him away from the dwarves, but looking behind brought him back just in the nick of time. At the new year I feel a bit wizard-ish myself – looking ahead and behind helps me start moving in a good direction.
I think it always has to be that way, whenever we’re trying to advance in our work or hobbies or dreams. We can’t just drive onward without taking stock of the situation. It’s good to pause and reconsider the things that have happened to us in the past. From them we can afterwards learn how to move forward successfully.
So that’s what I’ve been doing on New Year’s, while cooped up with my cold. I hope everyone else has been having a pleasant opening to their year, with thoughts as good as mine and health much better!