Joy, sheer unadulterated joy! I just love this picture of my Misha and it so clearly embodies my goals for 2017. To live in the moment and capture the joy of living.
What has everyone done on this first day of the year? I had the day off and spent the time rediscovering old friends among my books, batch cooking for the upcoming week, and finally putting away all the Christmas decor.
I enjoy the ritual of putting away the holiday decor. I carefully go through the decor once again as I pack it away with care for yet another year. So many memories in all those assorted ornaments and special bits, a few all the way back to my childhood and then there are the new from this year awaiting to become a part of holiday memories. As I nestle each piece away I contemplate past holidays and wonder what the next year will bring.
At the beginning of each New Year I don’t create a list of resolutions. I find that just doesn’t work for me. Numerous years back I happened upon a better way. Finding a theme which was represented in a single word. I loved this idea and as I looked back on my life I could see that each year really did have a theme even if I had not named it. A theme could encompass the growth I wanted to experience during the upcoming year. It was not a set of rules, goals, expectations that would be broken in the first month and create feelings of guilt and failure. Seriously how many times have we said this is the year we will join a gym and go daily, lose 20 lbs, diet, read a book every month, etc. only to find that life interferes and we cannot stick to such a regimented way of living. We live in a world rife with heaps of negativity and unrealistic expectations created by media and society we don’t need to internalize these by creating our own unrealistic expectations. Our themes and words should never be negative! They should be about growth but in an authentic self loving way.
I like to focus on a word that represents what I want to live for that year. These words generally just materialize as I am reviewing the past year and determining my focus for the upcoming year. Last year a word never did materialize and perhaps that is because it was a difficult year with challenges, losses, and sadness. That is not to say it did not have blessing as well, I never forget how blessed I am and how deeply grateful I must always remain for what I have received in life. This year is shaping up to be about rediscovering joy. Engaging in those activities that I so deeply love and have let go, got too busy for, did not put as priority. Refocusing on my need to live a joy filled and bliss filled life in order to be whole and healthy. Reclaiming my life as it may be and refilling my well of joy and gratitude.
One of my joys is to revisit old friends among my books. Yes certain books and authors are like old friends. I have had hundreds of books over the years and in every house but this one I have had a library filled to the brim with books. I miss that immensely but when you downsize you must make choices. Many of my books are in storage but there are special ones that are near and dear that I keep out.
Yes most of my favorite authors are from years back and long gone. But they live on in their books. Gladys Tabor, Miss Read, Elizabeth Goudge, D E Stevenson, Louise Dickenson Rich, Lillian Beckwith, Christopher Morley , Betty MacDonald, Shirley Jackson, Charles Dickens all old and dear friends. I do have some dear favorites among the living and have passed on my collections of these to my children; Rosamund Pilcher, Mauve Binchey, Amy Tan, Kate Morton (I believe Kate is probably the most brilliant of living writers), Jan Karon to name a few. I find so many modern novels so poorly written and silly. So am always delighted to discover a writer of quality such as Amy Tan and Kate Morton who can weave a story that is not simply tripe. As for my venue, I have never cottoned up to the idea of reading a book on an electronic device. So much of reading to me is sensory; the feel and smell of paper, ink, and binding. Yes reading is definitely one of my greatest joys, sadly one I have ignored. I think I am due for a trip to the Book Bin and Kate’s latest novel!
Joyous New Year to All!