I have never been one for New Year’s Resolutions. I think it might be my very well-hidden but absolutely well-developed rebellious side. Oh, I keep it in check for the most part but a rule with no meaningful basis, even if self-imposed, brings it out in me. (Don’t get me started on the Don’t walk on the Grass signs. I mean really! It’s grass. I’m going to walk on it, lay on it, play fetch with my dog on it…) In addition to impending internal rebellion, a year is just a really, long time. I usually break the resolution in the first week and then I might as well wait for 2019. I prefer to see every day as a new day and do the best that I possibly can. If I screw up, I forgive myself, make it right, learn from it and move on. I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination and fortunately I am in very good company. Instead of a New Year’s Resolution, I prefer to make an Old Year’s Reflection. I focus on what I am grateful for in the past year. I think about what I have learned in the past year. Then I pray for many blessing for everyone in the New Year. All of that seems a lot more important than committing to losing some weight or having a perpetually clean house. (Though, truth be told, I would be happy if both of those things happen as well.) This past year has been a year of change and acceptance. It has been a year of creativity, exploration and risk-taking. It has been a year of joy, celebration and gratitude. I would not have missed one moment or traded one breath for all the world.
Change and acceptance seemed to be a theme for me this year. I would like to say I have accepted that change is inevitable, so I just roll with the punches with poise and grace. But the truth is I don’t always. Sometimes I just want to throw a boot stomping, dust kicking, screaming fit. This year, I definitely wanted to do that. This is the year that I finally had to accept that I am no longer that physically strong 20 something that I am in my mind. I had to learn to accept help doing things I normally would take great pride in doing myself. Though I may have gone kicking and screaming toward acceptance, I got there. But I did not get there alone. I am so grateful for my friends and family who eased the way. I am grateful for my daughter and her friends who took the top off my jeep while I was still recuperating from back surgery, so I wouldn’t miss a single top down day this year (and there were many and each one was glorious!). I am grateful for the friends who took turns going on pathetically short walks in winter weather with me as I recovered and learned to walk properly again. I am grateful for the friend who lifted carboys, so I wouldn’t miss out on making wine this year. I am grateful for my amazing husband who kept me laughing through the whole thing. It is easy to accept the changes in your life when you surround yourself with friends and family who know what you love and understand what will be the hardest for you to let go of. It is the small things that help you to accept change and to see that change might mean the end of one thing, but it is not the end of all things.
Creativity, exploration and risk-taking were another big part of my year. I took a giant leap (refer to Confessions of Closet Artist) and started selling my photographs. I had so much to learn about setting up a business and I probably would have been completely deterred by the magnitude of that process had it not been for the encouragement of a friend. Actually, she took one look at the photographs I brought her, and she gave me until the weekend to get them framed and hung on her wall. I could so easily have talked myself out of it. I think she sensed that, so she played to my strengths- she gave me a deadline (deadlines and trophies are my kryptonite). That simple but exuberant encouragement was the kindling I need to light my fire. That’s what we need in life: friends who know when to tiptoe silently forward with an apple in their outstretched hand and when to show you their spurs. She gave me the spurs and I am so grateful she did. I have learned so much this year about photography, about art, about business and most importantly about myself. Some things were harder to learn than others and at least one of those was a fortuitous disaster. Because I couldn’t figure out how to delete the blog page from the website template I fell in love with, I started a blog. I don’t usually surrender that easily but surrender I did. That led me to writing my blog: Life Through My Lens. I have enjoyed this so much! I am grateful to all of you who read my blog and especially those of you who have commented. It means a lot to me that people take time to respond to the blog and share their ideas. I am grateful to all of my friends and family who encouraged me to start on this journey. You have made taking this leap so worth it!
Lastly, this has been a year of joy, celebration and gratitude. Hopefully, you are already seeing the gratitude. I am not sure if this has been an unusually joyful year or if I am just more aware of the joy this year. But joyful it has been. The year has been peppered with celebrations- showers, weddings, births, graduations and birthdays. All of them celebrations of love, family and friendship. I am so grateful to have just been witness to these special moments. It is not only the big “I do!” moments but all the simple moments that fill the spaces. Watching an older couple holding hands remembering their own wedding year’s past. Grandmas cradling newborn babies. Big kids taking care of little ones. Friends sharing laughter. Sitting by the pool with a friend reveling at the wonder that is our girls. Dancing with abandon. Taking one for the team and being first on Splash Mountain so I can hear the shrieks of glee behind me. Sitting on the beach watching surfers ride the waves. Having late night talks with my sisters. Sitting in the dark with my husband waiting for the sun to rise. All those tiny moments that make life’s joy so, so big. I am grateful for all of the people in my life who share those tiny moments of big joy with me. I wish you all many blessings in the New Year!
I chose my logo as the image for this post. I designed it to represent Catherine Matthews Images. Hopefully you can see that it is my initials CM separated by an i in the shape of a joyous woman. I thought this was a fitting image for the post.