So a while ago, earlier this month, I wrote a post about ideals worth sacrificing for. I have talked with close friends and family about this to a certain degree, and am further refining my list to those things which are most on my list to work on, plus things I didn't list previously. So some adds, some outs, and now we have a list, on this beautiful last day of 2006. And I like to review the substance of the year, just because it is cathartic to me. I have had a good year, and feel very lucky in that regard. We did a fair bit of traveling - to Washington (east and west, multiple times) as well as San Francisco, Florida, and Colorado. Plus within the state, to Houston and Dallas and Wichita Falls to visit family and friends. All trips were terrific. I gained a new nephew, Samuel, took up a life-changing endeavor in yoga, we remodeled our kitchen primarily ourselves. I managed a little guesthouse across the road, began helping a friend get up to speed on new technology for her office to go wireless and paperless, and got my daughter's bed switched to a big girl bed. I painted some watercolor paintings, crocheted some blankets, did some sewing, made some jewelry, and did some gardening. I got a tattoo, finally, after thinking and planning and talking about it for a zillion years. We lost some very good neighbor friends as they moved to Portland, and grew closer to some other friends. I don't know that I necessarily made any *new* friends this year, but I definitely feel like I've developed some of my friendships more than I had in the past (especially Melissa, HI MISSY!). I've been working hard on being more calm, reducing my level of frustration and irritation, and responding a lot more peacefully to things that previously would elicit a haughty irritated response, as though I should not have to deal with irritation. It isn't that I don't still feel the irritation, or that I try to squash it. But I'm learning to let it exist, yet not act on it or respond to it.
This year hasn't been the best for some of the folks close to me. My heart goes out to each of them, with prayers for a better year in 2007. I, for one, am thankful this one was good to me, and hope the next is as well. And here's what I'm working on.
1. Recycling - much more than in the past
2. Organic foods - where it makes sense
3. Buying local/American/fair-trade foreign goods
4. Continuing my yoga practice 2-3 times weekly
5. Allowing myself to be imperfect, realizing that within me is my perfect self, but I can only remove the clutter to find that if I am patient and loving of myself in the process.
6. Being in the present. Being mindful and experience each moment for what it has to offer. Not goody-goody "stop and smell the flowers" or "enjoy each moment" - because a lot of it isn't very fun. But wisdom comes from mindfully enduring difficulty and frustration and pain as much as appreciating the beauty in life. I haven't been very mindful, always living in my head, rehashing or reexperiencing the past, or looking forward to something in the future. I need to do much more of this, just being in the moment itself, for whatever it brings. Especially with Hootie.
7. Living simply. This means everything from continuing my efforts to reduce the amount of clutter in my home to uncomplicating my relationships, to letting people have their own emotions without taking them personally, to how I entertain my child. The most difficult part of that is that I have been given a lot of lovely things, which I would feel bad parting with because of the loved ones who have given them to me.
8. PAINT MORE. I need to do a lot more art.
9. Spend money on travel and experiences rather than things. I think I might allow myself a few indulgences though. Photographs, beautiful food, and I think I'm going to have to go with shoes. Not overboard, just indulging my weakness now and again.
10. LOVE MORE. We all could stand a little more of that, eh? "All we need is love, da ta da da da..."
Now I am going to go put on a sexy black dress and heels, and accompany my husband and friends out to a nice New Year's Eve dinner sans child. Happy New Year to everyone who is reading, and much health and happiness to all.