Saturday, July 20, 2013

Progress Versus Stagnation

My DHC challenge for today was to make a list of what I'd like to accomplish in the next year. I've shared so much with that group but I was unwilling to share this. I guess part of it is just so personal and part of it is so selfish but I'm coming to realize, as I age, that occasionally being selfish and putting yourself and your needs first is not necessarily a bad or evil thing.

I do think that in light of recent events, revelations and losses that my first wish is that I'm able to help a friend who needs me. I can't even write about this yet not only out of respect for my friend's privacy but also because I still haven't come to terms with this reality yet. My wish for number 1 on my list is that I can help her transition and show her all the love and compassion that I feel and that I will learn to be more accepting of the things I can not change in life.

Number 2 goes hand in hand with number 1. My friend's circumstances have made me realize just how precious each and every minute of our lives is. I've been sleep walking through life for a long time. No, I can't even say that because just the walking part would infer that I've actually been making progress when I have been sleeping but deeply buried in my own little protective burrow as far from life's realities as I can get. So, TWO is living my life to the fullest, being inspired, being enthused, being alive.

Number 3 probably ties with 4 in importance but I'll start with my art. Art has always been a part not only of my life but of me but in the past ten years or so I've not done much outside of my photography and even it has dwindled. I'm a bit of a jack-of-all-trades with art. I started out in school with an emphasis on water color and illustration. I ironically hated the sculpture classes I was required to take and not very good at it. Then I ended up making my living for the next 25 years doing wood sculpture and carving, lol. I also did some freelance design work during that time period. I became burnt out with that and turned to photography for a while. Now, in my old age, I've decided not to limit myself. I'm cleaning out my dust and cobweb covered workshop so I can start carving again and I'm setting up a small studio space in my house so I can start working on drawing and painting again. Not wanting to limit myself, haha, I've decided to add print making and jewelry to my artistic endeavors and then there is always the photography which has extended recently from four legged models to two legged ones. I just finished up my new website yesterday and the hardest part was incorporating all of the things I either do or want to start doing soon into an easy to understand and navigate site. It may look as if I'm biting off more than I can chew but I told my husband yesterday that I've concentrated my entire life on two things, trying to make a living and doing what I thought everyone else expected of me. Now, I think I'm old enough to not only finally please myself but also to concentrate more on doing what I enjoy. That may be funky jewelry one day and wood carving the next or I might just grab my camera and head out to the pasture field. My doctor has set a prime example for me, he recently quit medicine (which didn't make me happy but it seems to have made him very happy) and is going to be teaching troubled kids which is what he wants to do. And I say, good for him!...although I do hate losing a great doctor since they are so hard to find.

Number 4, my horses. Enough said there since I've neglected them as much as I have my art. And the lack of living I've been doing as illustrated by 2 also includes them. Steve and I were at a party last night and someone asked about our horses. We've got five horses, we said and we never ride any of them. Django and Riley came here four years ago to be our daily riding horses and we've ridden them exactly ONE time in that four years! Mouse hasn't been ridden since she had Danny who is now three. I haven't even started trying to train Danny and break him to saddle. My main job with my dear old Brandy is just keeping her alive and as comfortable as possible since she is long past her riding days but the girl deserves her retirement. I can use the excuse with the riding that I don't like to ride alone and Steve is never here. I can say about Danny's training that I'm still waiting until we move the round pen to a more convenient location to start him. BUT I have not excuse for the knots in their tails and mane and the fact that they fight over my attention when I am around. I need to spend more time with my horses even if all I do is groom them.

Number 5, health, wellness and all that good stuff. Maybe I should move, "start working out!" to the top of the list since being in better shape would make it much easier to do or deal with the rest. I really do need to stop talking about this and start doing it until it becomes that daily habit that I hate to miss. I read an article just yesterday that said beyond eating right and getting enough sleep the key to weight loss and health after a woman passes 50 (and let's admit it, I'm much closer to the start of the next decade) is exercise and even with all of those other healthy habits, you can't lose an ounce without regular cardio. So, I need to take a cue from Nike and "Just Do It!"

Number 6, has been weighing on me for nearly fifteen years now. Honestly, I truly feel as if I'm smothering under the pressure, buried alive! What is this monster of a task? Finishing this house, getting it cleaned up and not only truly liveable and comfortable again but turning it into a home that I not only will allow my friends to visit but will welcome them into. All of the elements are here, I just have to work this puzzle out and fit them together. Why has this grown from a big problem to a major one in fifteen years, neglect, procrastination, fear, lack of funds, lack of motivation, all of the above and then some? I guess it is the latter but then just the fact that it has become so overwhelming seems to freeze me in my steps and prevent me from making progress. So, my goal for this year is not necessarily to finish everything but to finish something, to make some small progress every day if possible. Sure, I won't reach the finish line as soon as I'd hoped but that finish line has actually gotten farther and farther away from me over the years despite all of my good intentions and big plans. If I can just start to do one small thing a day and maybe stop writing out plans and lists and then revising them when I don't accomplish anything, maybe I can start moving forward again. I'm thinking stop looking toward the future which I not only have no control over but absolutely not idea about what will happen to change my course, sink my big plans and instead make progress one tiny step at a time. Instead of mapping out my course in my journal/calendar, I think I will turn it into a diary and at the end of each day, I'll write what I accomplished that day instead of writing at the beginning of the day what I want to accomplish. Now, that sounds like a plan to me! And I could easily incorporate the other five goals on this list into that daily plan and spend some time and energy each day on: my friends, my spirtuality, my art, my horses, my health and fitness and my house and at the end of the day write down just what I did to get a little closer to each of these goals, one step, one day at a time.

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