Monday, February 04, 2008

Another Year Older

I felt the urge to acknowledge the traditional marking of the passage of time known as my birthday with a blog entry. I've been reduced, you see, to needing a special occasion for logging my thoughts. So here, the day after, is my own commemoration of the passing year.

Just to make things even easier on my uninspired self, I thought I would make a list of experiences that stand out in the past year. Bear with me, it may just be navel-gazing stuff and neither cosmically revealing nor helpful to readers, but it is, at least, completely keepsake worthy.

1. I took the Science of Mind "Heartfelt Living" course with my husband last February-April. I learned about affirmative prayer. When I practiced this learning, I had tremendous results. My life is still changing as a result of those initial prayers, but I have lacked discipline and have been immature about my spiritual life since then. But I definitely learned a lot about my husband, and a whole lot more about myself and what "pains" me, so to speak. This course was a fantastic catalyst for the rest of the year. I also had the privilege of making a brand new, wonderful, loving friend--the kind to keep for a lifetime!!

2. I started taking two-step lessons in May. I was prepared to go alone, but an acquaintance from church found out I was starting and joined me, saying she'd been thinking about doing the same thing. Then we met another woman who started brand new like we did, also by herself. From there, we became the Dancing Divas or the Tres Amigas and we've been taking lessons and practicing our dancing at least twice a week since. In the meantime, I learned a little polka and a teensey bit of waltz, and discovered the dance I now love the most--West Coast Swing. So now I take WCS lessons twice a week and practice on Friday nights! Dancing and spending time with my friends brings me so much JOY!!!

3. I finally made it through Julia Cameron's book for struggling artists, The Artist's Way, after trying several times over the course of oh, nine or so years. I was able to do it because I joined a focus group in the summer. This, in turn, inspired me to take a painting class where I found out that I love painting! I also made a fabulous friend from the group; a friend who is a practicing artist, a photographer most often, and an appreciator of art--including mine! What a fabulous adventure and reward!!

4. I took classes at a community college that were "just for me." I took Design, and Painting, Jazz, and Weight Training. As mentioned in #3, I discovered that I LOVE to paint. I also loved Jazz, but didn't like being the oldest student; I did, however, decide that I love all kinds of dance! Lifting weights definitely produced results, but the surprise was that the cardio training got me running up to a mile and a half....and liking it! My easel is set up at home, with my current painting in progress, but it's still tough to find the time like I had in class to devote to it. Something about the undivided attention of three hours to paint really helped. But, it's all ready to go when I can get back to it. Priorities may change, but the love won't, and now I have a beginning where before there was only a dream. Huzzah!

5. One of my Amigas told me about Codependents Anonymous. I started going to meetings in September. I started the twelve step program in October. I'm on step four: Make a searching and fearless inventory of myself. Ouch. Well, I have a sponsor who doubles as a life coach and I am workin' this step, and let me tell ya, it's tough. I recently described my revelations in a statement something like this: "I've discovered that it has been my own lack of imagination and courage that have contributed to any unhappiness in my life." In many situations, I have believed myself to be a victim of circumstance, or of people who have had power over me, or of a lack of choice, or even of being prone to being a victim. Waking up to the knowledge that my life is exactly the way I made it is startling, and it's very easy to beat up on myself for not having known this sooner. I mean, I thought I knew it, but I didn't really know it, you know? (ha) To feel the impact of this revelation just knocked the wind right out of me. I'm still trying to breathe. This is one of those pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and go out and do something about changing yourself moments.

6. My family went to DisneyWorld for Christmas vacation. This was yet another dream that gained substance. Although I had been there before, it had been nineteen years prior to this trip, and so it was new and different enough that I loved it again. And my husband and two daughters, who had not been before, were enchanted as well. We tend to be an Edu-Tainment kind of family, so we soaked up a lot more than just thrill rides. The memories we made will be little mental islands of paradise I can visit anytime. I love those kinds of memories, don't you?

7. My girls both started this school year in high school! My girls are 14 and almost 16 (Feb. 22nd) and I have been having some serious mommy nostalgia of late. The "where-has-the-time-gone-it-was-just-yesterday-they-were-so-little" kind of nostalgia. But then I also have these moments where I just watch them, like I'm having an out-of-body experience and I'm just amazed at the young women they have become, and I am just filled with love, love, love for these wonderful ladies in my life. They have, and continue to be, lovely to behold in every way. I'm so grateful for the love and life we share. They will always be the best part of being me in this lifetime. I wouldn't trade them for anything. Ever. It's not a new feeling, per se, but it is deeper and different these days. Something about seeing them at eye level I presume.

And so I'm completely exhausted now, WOW! That's a great year right there I would have to say! Thanks for reading. Talk to you soon.

Here again are those lovely ladies I was telling you about:


© Nicole J. Williams, 2007, all rights reserved.


Melanie said...

It is amazing how much you have accomplished in just one year. It is great to hear that as you are trying new activities you are gaining more and more friends. It always amazes me that God delivers the right people into our lives when we need them the most. Good luck in your next year and maybe sometime we will meet up again in person. - Mel

Camellia said...

YOUR BIRTHDAY!!!!!! I always remember it. Happy late birthday. This is my birthday I get to, it's my birthday. The girls are gorgeous. And so many milestones this year. Marvelous. Lots of love to you.

Nicole said...

You're absolutely right Melanie! That's what struck me when I thought about this year. Last year I resolved to make new friends, and I did, by doing things I've always wanted to do. It was a great lesson with great rewards!

I hope we get to see each other soon...I have a handful of friends now who have moved to the Carolinas. My next vacation alone will be over that way. Hopefully summer '09! :))

Valerie said...

Can't think of a word to say... so here's a big hug (((HUG)))