Reflections on a Year Gone By
While to me, I feel like the year begins in the fall, when the scent of apples fills the air and everyone heads back to school, it’s that time of year when I look back to see the journey I have taken since last New Year’s Eve.
And what a ride it has been. As I began reflecting on this post, at first I had a hard time remembering the past year, as so much and so little has happened. But, this blog serves one fabulous purpose if no other, it helps me look at my life as I live it as well as I reflect on past experiences. Thus my year already lives here in words and pictures. That might be a good reason for my blog!
Sitting at my sister’s table for a Christmas dinner with her beau, it suddenly struck me that I sat there last year, as a visitor. Last year, we drove through snow with two dogs in tow, to spend our winter vacation in Massachusetts with my family, hoping Sarah would get a little quality time with Papa before his inevitable slide into Alzheimer’s took him further away from us.
Last year Sarah and Papa read together.
This year, he sat on the couch watching It’s a Wonderful Life while everyone else. This is perhaps one of the saddest changes this year has brought.
My Dad seems so alone this year. It is very hard to reach him right now.
We started the year in a little town in Kansas, which offered a lot of interesting experiences but never quite felt like home.
Last year began with me planning to teach a new class (for that college) Comp I as well as another section of Theater Appreciation and a one student course in Stage Makeup. It also began my first foray into directing a musical, School House Rock, Live!
I wish I could say the semester was smooth sailing, but that would be a lie. From battles with the system over which was more important the arts or sports, to my worst teaching semester in a classroom ruled by disrespect and testosterone, the semester left a lot to be desired. We also faced the challenges of an extremely overworked husband , a marriage facing some difficult times, a daughter who was very homesick, and my utter confusion about who and what I am
Highlights of the Year
Moon Lady overlooks the coziness.
- I joined Postaday2011 which helped me meet so many wonderful people, and get a little more focused with writing. I quit in April, when I realized that it was becoming too much and felt the need to focus my energy differently. I still post more often than not, and am still working on the balance, but it is getting better.
- I met, talked to, and worked with many marvelous women (and men) this year, including one of my favorite playwrights, Marsha Norman. I am always inspired by people who are talented, passionate, and caring; especially those who try to encourage and support others rather than cut people down (and I met several of those over the past few years, so this was refreshing).
- I started working with an incredible group of adults to create a drama/art program for them. To help prepare, I participated in a fabulous workshop on Drama Therapy which reminded me of how powerful the arts are, and of an interest that I had all but forgotten. This led to a month-log project in June that I found inspirational and hope to be able to revisit in other locations).
- I went to a conference in Seattle where I found more inspiration as well as more confusion about my own goals in life.
- May and June were in some ways the busiest and craziest months. Nathan left for his summer job as Technical Director of Okoboji Summer Theatre leaving me as a single Mom. During that time, I was stage manager for a production of Jungle Book where Sarah performed as part of the elephant chorus, I also worked on the project I mentioned above, built Kaa the Snake for the production, and planned for a trip to visit Durango, CO (our former home). I spent hours and hours driving during the month of may, little suspecting that more driving was to come.
- Eventually Sarah and I joined Nathan in Okoboji, which is always a complex experience for me, as I struggle to find focus there. This year, to help give me purpose, I volunteered to assist at an arts camp, where I ended up co-teaching (and in some ways saving) a class in stage makeup. I’m hoping to be hired by that program this year.
- I spent the rest of the summer writing, thinking, dreaming, helping when I was needed and basically beginning the fallow stage that I have been in for a while. Then, of course, everything turned topsy-turvy. Nathan was offered a position in Massachusetts about one week before the summer theater gig was over and we would head back to Kansas. That gave us about one week to pack, one week to travel, and only three weeks to find a new home. Somehow we pulled it all together and the world shifted again. Since September, my year has basically been finding my way in this new “old” home.
- We managed to visit old friends, and meet new ones while carrying our entire life in the back of a truck and heading into the challenge of Irene
Sarah and Kathy inside Sara’s lovely garden.
- The last few months have found us settling into our new home, and me continuing my search for employment and purpose. I also taught a couple of classes for kids and that’s about it.
A Year of Slow Moving Complexity
If I had to title this year for myself, I would call it either “The Year of the Inner Journey” or “The Year of Contrasts.”
Why? Because through all of this I have been doing a lot of soul-searching, a lot of writing, a lot of reading, a lot of dreaming. I am in a year of moving slowly toward a destination that I still don’t see. I can’t say that it has been a year of achievement, but at the same time I have achieved a lot. At the beginning of 2011, I assumed we would end it in Kansas, still finding the balance between the joy I had in projects and my inability to feel at home.
It has been a year of super highs and energetic projects, followed by super lows and confusion.
It has been my year of questioning and wondering, as I move on into the unknown.
What will the next year bring?
As I write this, I’ve been thinking about New Year’s resolutions. I don’t make them anymore, as I find they set a bar high where I then beat myself up if I fail. I’m already hard enough on myself, don’t you think.
So, instead, I will be starting 2012 with an adventure! On New Year’s Eve I will begin the journey to Slovakia. Who knows what will follow after a beginning like that?
Given the craziness of my life, anything can happen. I guess all I can do is enjoy the journey.
What are your hopes for 2012?