Happy New Year All,
Sorry for being out of circulation so long. My life has moved faster than the speed of light and I’ve neglected the creative side of my spirit at my own peril. Creativity keeps me balanced and zen, for lack of a better word, so I’ve felt a sense of loss at losing my benchmark and anchor in the world.
I started working at a local newspaper helping out in the Classified Department. This soon morphed into managing and training other people in Classifieds. My daily inner struggle is to remind myself to not take on more work than I can handle given the rest of the my life’s expectations and obligations. As you can see, to some degree I have failed but hope springs eternal.
I rarely make New Year’s Resolutions but this year I will make an exception. I vow to work harder at working less. Tell me working mothers, is that even possible? I have always admired working mothers, as my mother was a single working mother, but my appreciation for their infinite juggling skills is limitless! Not even just the self adjustment necessary for switching multiple hats in a single bound but doing it with grace, kindness, and patience. A lot of patience. I doff my cap to the working mothers in this world for you’ve given a whole new meaning to the grossly overused word of Multitasking!
This year, I resolve to carve out more guilt-free time for myself, my writing and photography. I declare here and now to do frivolous, nonsensical, and whimsical things to enrich and expand my life’s view, like take Italian or take up fencing. Who knows? Just finding the time and space to revel in my imagination, hopes, and dreams for the future has to be equally as important as succeeding at work.
Happy 2016 and may all our dreams come true!
I find New Year’s Resolutions often boring and predictable. I spent this New Year’s Eve ushering in the New Year with my Mom and three of her life long, good friends. I found their perspective and life views to cause me to stop, think, and review my purpose in the world as a woman, friend, and mother. I was honored to sit and be schooled by four teachers, (including my Mom) who have enlightened hundreds of students over the span of their collective lifetime. Silently and unwittingly, I had entered a Masters Class.
The evening was spent playing games, cooking, eating, watching a funny movie and talking, debating and sharing, no holds barred. These women are not shrinking violets. Each in their own right have achieved great success as teachers, mothers, educators, administrators, feminists, and women. They take their roles as educators very seriously. It is their calling and they know their stuff.
All but one are retired but I don’t think they know how to retire, at least in the conventional sense of the word. They are still in the trenches, in schools, their communities, and churches. Each continuing to make a difference with their wisdom, contributions and shared life experiences. I was in awe of how they approached retirement, life, friendship, relationships, motherhood, marriage, widowhood, and even death. The lessons were timely, valuable and as varied as the women who were sharing them.
First, if you can not hold your own in a debate, this is not the group for you. You can’t just “state” your position, be ready to defend it, be knowledgeable about it or you will be devoured with intellect and reasoning so strong you are instantly reminded of your third grade teacher tsking and shaking her head at your feeble attempt to answer a question, incorrectly and without raising your hand first. So come strong or stay home. No time for a Goggle check, if you speak on it then you must Know about that which you speak. If not you will be challenged, kindly but with intensity.
Second, disagreement is welcome, argument encouraged. I mean this in the most respectful and adult way. There is no name calling or disparaging remarks, no eye rolls, teeth sucking, or out right dismissal of anyone’s point of view. Seems strange in a world where it seems we can not hold two opposing thoughts at the same time, (Cognitive Dissidence, in case you’re wondering, I wasn’t wondering but I received an education about nevertheless). That’s the other side of being raised by teachers, don’t use a word or phrase if you don’t know it’s origin or meaning. It has the potential to be embarrassing as they are trained listeners. I learned the true value of a loving and heartfelt debate, valuing their choice of words, their tone, more than any ego driven need to win an argument.
Third, dismantling, attacking, and categorizing other women is not allowed. Collectively these four women have raised ten plus children and they know that there is no value in teaching a lesson with pain attached, life teaches us that lesson whether we like it or not. They are forthright, well spoken, intelligent women who have continuously worked on uplifting, educating, and supporting children and adults for dozens of years. They believe that Information is power, freedom and independence. They have marched, and challenged the status quo. They have lived through the free love of the 60s, the civil rights movement, women’s movement, mother’s movement and they are not done yet, not by a long shot.
Fourth, no two women are alike. Each one is a strong woman in her own right, working their entire lives and making creative and difficult choices, often alone. Their decisions and sacrifices have affected their families, their careers and themselves. Still you won’t find a drop of bitterness or martyrdom to be found among them. This is a group of women who get the job done, no time for muss or fuss. No time to wonder if they will get the credit for all of their hard work, (and I can say from experience, they do not). No time to sit around and whine about who is doing what, when. If something needs to get done, big or small, these women are on it. They are practical, ingenious, problem solvers and they don’t get nearly the recognition they should.
Fifth and finally, I sat back and watched and learned more in one night than I could ever write about today. I sat, in rapt attention barely moving as they shared eloquently the lessons of their own lives. l listened and I learned about being a woman in her 60s, 70s and 80s. I learned about being a mother, for a life time, (I know we know we are mothers forever but these women exemplify what a mother is and the dance that is required as their children have grown). I learned that I can speak up and out and frankly that I should at every turn, particularly when injustice is being done. I learned the true meaning and the treasures of life long girlfriends who support and love each other through the challenges, joys and pain that life brings. I learned how to fall spectacularly and continue to get back up, again and again with dignity and integrity.
I will leave you with some last words of wisdom from the oldest member of the group answering the age-old question, what is your New Year’s Resolution? She paused and thought about it for a moment, and she said, “I am living my New Year’s Resolutions every day in the choices I make, the people I love and cherish, the work I continue to do, and in the way I live my life. I don’t have any new resolutions, just to continue living, learning and loving.”
Yep, I will say it again, this was a Masters Class and these women should be on the cover of Time’s most Influential Women of their Time. As teachers they have taught these principles, shared these principles, prayed over these principles with their own children and the many children, many of whom are now adults, that they had the privilege of teaching over 50+ years as Educators. Retirement is only a word to them and these women are graceful, strong, real, honest, hardworking, dedicated, beautiful, intelligent, resilient, and extraordinary. Their lives are a blueprint for how I hope to live my life as I grow older.
Thank You for your hard-earned lessons, Mom, Ann, Beth, and Pam. And thank you for sharing them, albeit unknowingly, with me. Much love.
“The vision must be followed by the venture.
It is not enough to stare up the steps—
We must step up the stairs.” Vance Havner
Happy 2015 to one and all.
I never pictured what the year 2015 would look like, except maybe in crazy sci-fi movie scenarios. So this year will be the first of many firsts.
It is my intention to step into the person I’d hope I’d be, someday, and to achieve the dreams I dream daily, out loud and in color.
My hope for everyone is that 2015 exceeds your wildest imagination. I hope we all dream bigger and share those dreams with people who will support and encourage our dreams.
May this year be the year that the slates are cleaned and we all begin anew, refreshed, and reinvigorated.
So with gratitude and goodbye, I send 2014 on its way and I open my heart, mind, and soul to the joys, challenges, glory, and long and winding roads that will lead me through 2015 and on into 2016.
Happy New Year Friends and thanks for each post. Some days it seems you were writing or sharing something I really needed to see or learn, on that very day.
This year, for some reason, I am as excited about Christmas as my sons are. Usually I am alone in a room drinking a glass of wine, surrounded by echoes of curses, wrapping paper strewn about my feet, tape stuck to my skin, and A Christmas Carol playing in the background. Yep, I’m almost always running around trying to get everything done and exhausted when midnight hits and I’m still tying ribbons, sticking bows that don’t stick, and labeling the presents with my left hand so no one recognizes that I wrote them myself. My youngest caught on to my handwriting being on the gifts a few years ago so I switched to using my left. Ah, the things I do for the people I love.
Well this year, everything is already wrapped, except what Santa is bringing and I getting ready to actually watch, A Christmas Carol. The anticipation in the air is electric and I am glad that I get to enjoy each moment without panic about forgetting someone or something. This year, I might have finally gotten this thing down, maybe. I don’t want to set the bar to high for next year.
I hope that everyone has a wonderful Holiday Season with the people they love most in the world. “God Bless Us Everyone.”
I love the lights, the cheer, the food and the joy around the Holiday Season.
Things have been hectic and taking a moment to breathe and enjoy the crush of the season, is my task this year.
I am ahead in the shopping department, (a first in many years). I am decorating and sending out my homemade Christmas/Holiday cards today while I sit sipping eggnog and listening to some Holiday tunes.
I guess this rare moment of reflection and peace and quiet has given me a chance to think about all the things I am grateful for this year and all the things that I will need to change as I enter 2015.
For now, at this very moment, I am so glad that my tree is sparkling, my beautiful sons are smiling, and I am excited to find out what joys are around the corner.
I hope everyone is taking some time this Holiday season to do something wonderful for themselves.