Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Auld Lang Syne

I am sitting in my bed at Mom & Jim's house in Long Creek. It is 1.11 a.m of 01/01/2009.  
The snow started to fall about three hours ago - prelude to a blizzard that is going to thump the Maritimes tomorrow.   This seems as fitting a scene as any to do a little reflecting on the year that has passed and the year that is to come.  

 - Many hours later - 

So my attempt to write an insightful blog post at an ungodly early hour in the morning did not pan out.  It is now 9.04 Pm of 01/010/2009 and I am sitting by the fireplace in the living room with laptop, quite appropriately, in lap and the blizzard still blazing its way through Long Creek.

These last few weeks on PEI have given me much by way of food for thought, as well as food for my belly!  No, but really, there's something to be said for the therapeutic nature of 'coming home'. It is in this familiar place and space that I am able to find myself again and again.  Funny how one needs both to venture into the unknown and then return to the known in order to truly realize what has come to pass in the journey. At least, that's  been my experience.  

So how does one measure one's journey through a year, or through another chapter in their journey?  I'm not so sure there's a generic formula - I reckon there's a different measuring stick that each of us uses. For me, I think that measuring stick considers three things:  my relationship with myself, my relationships with others, and my progression towards inner happiness.  

And for me, it's all a measure of relativity - how much better did I do in this chapter than I did in my last chapter?  I can't measure against any other standard and I hope that no one tries to do such a thing. You are on your own journey, so find your own guiding light and don't let yourself be measured against other people's expectations of you, or those imposed by society.  

Sometimes coming home is hard. There are more intersections with one's past than they might care to encounter. For me, this is the case.  It is hard not to be reminded of what who you used to be in the company of people who knew you  at different intervals of the past. And while, thankfully, most of those people - family and truly wonderful friends - allow you to grow and stick with you on your journey, there are others that remain inevitable reminders that you've not always been a great friend or wonderful daughter.

The temptation in these instances is to wallow in self-pity or punish yourself for your past errors. But what good is that?  This year when I was confronted with a reminder of a past iteration of me that I've worked very hard to improve, I was tempted by anger (at myself and at those who haven't the inclination to engage the present iteration of me) and let it take hold briefly - for the length of a 4 kilometer jog to be precise.  At some time during that jog I decided I needed a little help from my friends to get through this one and found myself grateful because I had two wonderful, insightful friends - old friends - that listened and loved.  

In the end, these little intersections with the past serve as reminders not of what we once were, but of how far we've come from there.  In my case, this particular intersection also served to remind me that I am blessed with some truly outstanding friends.

So in measuring the latest chapter of my life, I have to say I'm pretty happy. Over the past year (and beyond), I've put a lot of energy into ME.  And I can not only see the progress, I can feel it.  I am happier with who I am than I've ever been before. I'm a work in progress - a woman in progress I suppose, and 2008 was a productive year in this regard.

 And in regards to my relationships with others - well, I know I'm not perfect by any means in this arena, but I know I'm getting better. I know because I find myself smiling more, hugging more and loving more.  An amazing domino affect of being happier with yourself is that you find more positive energy to give to your relationships with others.  

I am getting better. Every year since the close of 2005, I've seen marked progress. Maybe there is something to this whole 'getting older' thing (besides the reduced car rental rates that kick in at 25).  

Progress - it has positive connotations whilst still suggesting that there is more to be done, that there is some final point at which we must arrive. I'm not convinced yet.  For now, I'm quite content to be a woman in progress - to acknowledge that change is necessary and good, that it must be actively pursued by one's self, to accept that setbacks might occur, and to forgive the occasional error of judgement or mistake.  

And that, for now, is all I shall write.   

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