Typically in January I feel fresh and new and have come to enjoy certain rituals to mark this passage of time. Some years I am relieved to kiss a particularly difficult year goodbye, while other years seem to end on a high note. The reality is usually somewhere in between since I tend (like most people) to recall the last happenings first. One year – 2009 – was particularly rough throughout the whole year, but it was a rough time for a lot of us. Jobs and houses were lost, savings and investments had disappeared without warning. It started badly when, at the very end of 2008, my husband was charged with dismissing his entire staff, all of whom had families and had become fast friends with us and each other. And that was how we began 2009. Not a good omen, for sure.
But in the aftermath of loss, there is room for new beginnings. We found ourselves driving cross country from California to the coast of Georgia pulling a UHAUL behind our overloaded small SUV the week of Christmas, 2009. We arrived at our new home, St Simons Island on Christmas Day, having spent an unplanned extra night on the road in the panhandle of Florida to wait out a rainstorm and tornado. So New Year’s Day, 2010 was particularly welcome. Out with the old and in with the new.
So here I am, six years later, still on St Simons Island, Georgia with my husband and our 18-year old dog, McGee. This is home now. We have friends. We have great neighbors. We are part of a community. And we are thriving. We love coastal living and even found a used small boat in which to explore the nearby creeks and waterways. My husband took courses and filled out the requisite paperwork in order to call himself “Captain Al”. I love that trait about him – that he accomplishes whatever he sets out to do. Especially since I am one of those who has too many interests and starts, but doesn’t always finish the race. My only defense to that is that I thrive on and like variety and am always ready to pick up and go anywhere. Read: I’m not very good at planning ahead.
Now that the first month of the new year has come and gone, I find that the one thing I have consistently accomplished in January is setting a few yearly goals, then organizing my working space, essentially purging the unused or outdated detritus from the previous year. This ritual seems to clear my head so that I can invite new ideas that will help me to expand upon my creativity. I do not create well in cluttered, disorganized arenas. Think big-top, three-ring circus! Too much distraction to fully focus on the details that make for successful artistry, at least in my ring of the daily circus we call life.
Since I began blogging as a guest on The Permanent Tourist last spring and rediscovered my love of writing, my life has changed. A welcome change. There have been stages – learning the ropes, learning to narrow down my many interests to the ones that truly feed my passions. And becoming a disciple of routine. That’s a hard one for the free-spirted in any industry, but necessary to accomplishing what we’ve set out to do. Just like “Captain Al”, I have dreams and goals I want to accomplish. Some are definitive and measurable, but the higher thought overall – for me – is simply this: to always be open to learning the things that will make me a better photographer, a better writer. I love to share – I seem to be wired that way – and in these two pursuits I’ve happily discovered, there are no limits, no fences, no rules. Just wide open spaces to explore. And my heart is content.
Write and tell me what your January was like. Have you rested and reorganized? Have you taken time time off to pursue new interests or revived old ones? Did your new year get off to a rocky start? Did it get better? I’d love to hear from you.
January’s Posts on The Lens and Pen: