On Balance at the End of 2009
I awoke this morning in the dark, listened to Kenya breathing over on her pillow, and thought about how I could portray this year in a page of my sketch booking journal ... a balance scale was what I decided on ... a visual portrayal of just how balanced 2009 had been.
Then I got up and turned on the computer to check my email, and found this: "When you develop your ability to balance your emotions, unexpected problems won't knock you off balance as easily, and you'll return more quickly to a positive outlook."
Coincidences like this always make me smile.
I decided to go back through my blog posts and jot down the important things that occurred over the past twelve months. A great many bad things happened this year, to my family and friends, more than usual. And my budget certainly didn't balance this year. But I am ending the year feeling happy. It will be interesting to see how it all weighs out.
I went in the hole about $15,000 as we finished this house. But it is somewhat balanced by the fact that I was not forced to withdraw RRSPs so my taxes and medical costs will be lower next year ... and of course the house looks so much better now.
I continued to look after dogs and also began teaching at River Echo so while the drain on my finances was heavy, I was able to offset some of the losses. And of course I made money on the funky furniture.
I had a long bout with writer's block and felt as if I were wading through the tar sands as I worked on Lost and Found Summer, the novel I hoped to workshop at the Great Blue Heron workshop in June-July. I ended up giving up the idea of the workshop for financial reasons, and I put the novel aside for reasons of sanity. But then I began to find other creative outlets.
I did some felting. I learned to knit socks. I began to paint funky furniture and found that I could sell it. And I even wrote that 50,000 word first draft in a month for Nanowrimo.
When I weighed the good against the bad, apportioning events a weight of 0-10, the good outweighed the bad.
This surprised me a little because some of the really bad things that happened to those I love were especially heavy. It was a year marked by several deaths and far too much illness. One daughter was very ill all year and is still not completely recovered. She may have to live with chronic pain. My oldest friend is still very ill. A newer friend died this year.
I had a long bout with my eye and the drug's side effects.
But this was also the year that Chelsea Katherine was born. And so was Lucas. And Pat and Julie got married.
And my daughter beat the breast cancer. And the health scares that my other daughter and I had turned out to be just scares.
It was a year in which I began relationships, found friendships, re-established connections, some of which continue to grow while others have withered from lack of nurturing. This was the year I found someone I thought I could love, but it didn't work out.
It has been a year in which I did some real thinking about who I am; a year in which I discovered more than simply how to paint chairs and knit socks. Some of the insights had to do with what frightens me, what makes me happy, what causes me stress. I learned that I hate mazes but love labyrinths.
So it has been a year that has depleted bank accounts, stolen health and ended lives, but it has also been a year of growth and rebirth. One of the messages I've gotten this year is that even great fear and sadness can result in personal growth, so 2009 has, on balance, been a year in which the positive has outweighed the negative.
I am attending a Winter Solstice party tonight at the Mudpies Pottery. We will be throwing something we want to be rid of onto the bonfire. I think I will throw away ill health for all those I love. I want my daughter to walk pain-free again. I want Pat to get a bolstered immune system. I want 2010 to be a healthy year for everyone I care about.