Sunday, January 01, 2017

Another Year Begins

It occurred to me, as I thought back on 2016, that it had been a year of enduring for me. My resolution word for the year had been "light" and I did try to remember to bring light into not just my immediate world but the broader world as well. But for much of the year, light abandoned me as circumstances arose leaving me unable to do much more than endure these unexpected things. Endure symptoms from unresolved and new medical issues. Endure the side effects of drugs meant to make things better, waiting for them to kick in. Endure the frustration of my limitations that kept me out of the studio so much, from traveling, from the trails I love to hike. Even the sudden popularity of padfolios, which surprised and pleased me, became a matter of enduring because health issues and drugs made it so difficult to ramp up the energy and focus to make them. Then beyond myself, endure the empathetic sadness for others' losses, my heart breaking for the people I love, a weighty sorrow for strangers all over the world. And let's not forget, endure the toxic and crazy political campaigns and the aftermath of the election. Days and days when sending light into the world was the last thing on my mind, and all I could do was endure until the light came back to me. And it would come back, but it was difficult to hold onto. Many would agree, even with its bright spots, 2016 was a tough year.

And I'm not so sure that 2017 won't be more of the same for me as well as the rest of the world, a raft of things that can't be predicted or changed but only endured. And while that may sound pessimistic if you only consider the first definition of endure (suffer something painful or difficult patiently), I knew at once it was the perfect resolution word for me as I saw a certain optimism in it and a means to survive. I believe optimism is the way we are going to get through the coming year in the face of so much negativity, refusing to succumb to the doom and gloom we are constantly barraged with, not giving up when confronted with personal trials and challenges, but enduring through it all as in the second definition (remain in existence; last). I find this idea of enduring inspirational because really, is that not what life is about, understanding that, good or bad, if we endure in terms of this other meaning of to last, we have won at least one battle? And while much that bothers us on a daily basis comes and goes, the important thing is that we remain, steady and calm and enduring.

This may also sound pessimistic, but I am keeping my expectations low this year. I know that goes against all the inspirational hype about setting goals and shooting high, but it was quite discouraging to set out into 2016 with such high hopes for my health and modest goals that never panned out. It almost made enduring more difficult, thinking of the things I'd hoped to be able to do and couldn't. This year I will still hope for the best but not set the bar very high. That way whatever does get done, whatever progress gets made, whatever improvements come along will feel like a gift, and that which stays the same will not feel like such a defeat. I think I can be more at peace with how the year plays out if I approach it this way. And I intend to remain in existence, to last, to endure to the end.

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Previous resolution words:
2008 - Freedom
2009 - Calm
2010 - Focus
2011 - Refocus
2013 - Perseverance
2014 - Explore
2015 - Fearless
2016 - Light


Olga Norris said...

A good new year to you Sheila.

In reading your post I am reminded of when electricity was first introduced to households, and suddenly all the accumulated dirt and dust was visible, what a shock it was to housekeepers who had otherwise thought they kept all clean and tidy. Light can illuminate, but also expose.

I hope that in the coming year we all enjoy what we can, and learn from all else.

Charlton Stitcher said...

There is much to think about here ... I find this message of enduring to be a surprisingly positive one with its twin advantages of room for excitement when things turn out to be better than modest expectations suggested and realism when they don't. That way lies strength and resilience ... much needed in these uncertain times. May 2017 bring you better fortune!

The Inside Stori said...

Oh my……that’s what I like about you… seek for deeper meanings. Though honestly, the bulk of your post made me a little sad, until the end….when I could truly see you remain positive, in a guarded way. So, I’m guessing 2017 is going to outshine them all….just wait and see!!

Chris said...

That is the perfect word for 2017. I think we will have a lot to endure for years to come. I wish you better health and lots of creativity in 2017.

Connie Rose said...

I loved your beautiful, heartfelt post. And your words, which are perfect for all of us. I'm so sorry you had the health issues you did last year, and that your hopes were dashed. Your plan for shooting low this year sounds appropriate for the rest of our lives, actually...muddling through so that the high points are indeed gifts.
Wishing you all the best this new year. Hugs

Lucia Sasaki said...

Dear Sheila, thanks so much for your "Happy New Year" post.
It is so intimate and reflexive.
I infer that your year word in 2017 will be endurance?
In my childhood I had the clearly notion that there were years of weddings and years of funerals, but in both of these always there were good food. I was a child so even if people around me were sad because of the death of their loved ones, I always ate very happy what they served in the gatherings.
I had an experience with my Scripture for 2016: I chose John 15 (about abiding in Christ) and wow, I had to abide in Him, not the church.
Overall, a tough year, but fortunately we are still alive and sentient in 2017. Yes, with few expectations but hopeful ones.
Thanks a lot again!!

The Idaho Beauty said...

It is so gratifying to read all of your responses to this post. I was a bit worried it might come off too dreary and resigned, only to generate responses of "so sorry for all your travails". I'm so glad that instead you focused on the same thing I am focusing on, that the idea of endure can be a positive thing, and that you also gave me additional things to think about. And since writing it, I've thought many times of the phrase "enduring love" which I doubt anyone associates with anything but the deepest and most positive of experiences.

Olga, how interesting your take on "light". I tend to keep things fairly low lit except for task lighting, so when the sun shines through a window, I experience what you describe - oh my word, do I need to CLEAN! I also had that experience when I started wearing glasses full-time. Huh - no wonder the husband questioned my housekeeping skills. I literally had not been able to see the dirt and smudges that needed tending to. I had not thought that my emphasis in 2016 on light as a resolution word might expose more than I bargained for.

Lucia, thanks so much for sharing your tradition around weddings and funerals and that in some way they can both be celebrations through the sharing of good food - such a happy thought. I remember now your choice of scripture to guide you through 2016 and know that you too had physical challenges that derailed you. I think the word abide is very much like the word endure (which is my 2017 resolution word) and indeed, I too was doing my share of abiding in that higher power. May we both have a bit easier year and keep hope nearby.

To the rest of you, thank you for your well wishes for the new year. The very same to you!

Michele Matucheski said...

Endure. Sounds like you've had a rough year, My Dear. Sounds like you've had some good practice with Endure already. Doesn't hurt to continue it ... 2016 has been a tough year in more ways than one. For me it started out with the loss of David Bowie. Normally, I wouldn't mourn much about the loss of a celebrity, but Bowie was such a big part of my teen years, and showing me how to find my own self and creativity, yes, it was a big loss for me ... then I had to reapply for my job yet (yet again). I got rehired, and was able to make the split from the old to the new job with a brilliantly planned Outlander trip to Scotland with my friend Vicki. Then Vicki moved to CO. No lunch buddy, or wkd buddy anymore. I had a slight distraction in October when the floor loom showed up ... and then that election ... and then my beloved Newfie died. I was losing it by the end of the year--my mental health was going off the rails. Things were no longer balancing out -- Losing my dog was the last straw. I'd gotten her as a rescue 10 years ago -- I thought we had helped her get back on her feet and get normal and find Joy. I didn't realize how much she had helped me stay grounded. She was my own therapy dog. I put in for another Rescue, but got no responses (still haven't). And we finally decided to buy a newfie puppy from a breeder in Ohio. Her name is Sophie, and she is confident and bold -- so different from Maggie. Puppy energy is keeping my mind off the woes of the world for the moment. Just what I needed. I haven't picked a word for 2017 -- I'm still working with Light, which I picked a few years ago. It's a multi-year word. May 2017 be better than we think it will be ... I gave up my Hospice gig, which I've been doing steady for nearly 4 years, visiting the same lady. It's amazing how having that Saturday free time again, I'm starting to think about dye projects again ... All the possibilities!
Hang in there, Kid. You can get through all this. I'll send you some LIGHT.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Thanks, Michele, for sharing your rough year. I think it's true that we can take one or even two major upsets in a year, but more than that and it is simply too much and we start to shut down. 2016 seemed to pile it on in so many ways for so many people. It was only in retrospect that I realized how much of my year had been simply enduring so you are right - lots of practice so enduring should be a snap this year, right? ;-) Thanks too for the light - it is always welcome. :-)