Monday, January 05, 2009

Out with the old
And into a new year, thank god.

I’ve been putting off writing my blog for the New Year. Procrastination is not one of my faults, honest, you can ask my friends, family, fellow artists. I make my deadlines.

So why am I dragging my feet, here? I’m not sure, really. But let’s face it, the last year was definitely difficult. I started the year with my wrist in a cast. I couldn’t work in the studio, drive or tie my own shoes. I went through physical therapy which meant more pain as I worked my way through all the exercises. Then there were the job changes. Lay-offs. Fill-in work. Part-time. It meant saying good bye to familiar routines, friends, medical benefits and money.

It was scary. Even though, I know we’re not alone, there was gloom and doom everywhere I looked, it was still hard. What was hardest was not losing faith, in the face of fear.

I tend to be a “Polly Positive’, you know, the person that sees the silver lining in the clouds, the lemonade among the lemons, the openings when doors close. This year, I found myself mired in the pit more than I’d like to admit with tears streaming down my face as I mopped the floor or painted in the studio. I can’t believe I’m writing about this, because at the time, I was so ashamed of myself.

Now, I know that there is no shame in feelings. And that feelings, felt, don’t get in the way of progress. Because although, there were losses last year, there were also gains, too. That was the biggest surprise of all.

In spite of the difficulties and fear throughout the year, I completed more pieces, participated in more shows, sold more work, taught in more places to adults as well as children, did a series of artist interviews, wrote podcasts, artist profiles and book reviews, and met many wonderful new people. And I didn’t realize it all until I sat down to write in my journal on New Year’s Eve.

The year that had started out to look like complete failure was, actually, successful. And not just for me, either. My husband got out of a job that he felt stifled by and into a new place where his talents are valued, used, and being expanded. My daughter has tripled the students she had last year. My son quit one job, found another and has learned a whole set of new skills. Even the dog made progress. Now, she can heel off leash for me, as long as there’s no snow, of course.

We started last year with loss and sadness and ended it with gains and happiness we could never have imagined.

So what do I want to throw out with the old year, then? Dead-end jobs. Duck and cover tactics to try to insure security. Keeping my light low to avoid being seen. Routine and boredom. Fear. Sadness.

Ok, maybe I can’t throw out fear and sadness. They’re feelings that are part of living. What I can keep is the knowledge that feelings of sadness don’t prevent happiness. That fear doesn’t prevent action, in fact, it can inspire it.

Here’s what I’d like to ring in the New Year with – hope in the face of the unknown. Excitement about meeting new challenges leading to growth. Opening up to new people, places and opportunities to be even more thankful for than I could ever imagine.


Susan J Tweit said...

Susan, What a lovely and insightful way to face your fears! I can feel you learning and growing as you write, and finding what to carry with you into the New Year! I'm looking forward to see what comes of the work you're doing, both metaphorical and real.

It's a new year, and despite the national and global news, I think there's new energy for us all. It's time!

Susan T

Susan GT said...

Your support and encouragement means so much. I agree, there's new energy out there for all of us and it is definitely time!!