Taking stock - a retrospect of 2014
It's that time of the year when we start thinking back to the twelve months we're about to leave behind and ponder on all that's been. We take stock, we count our losses, our gains are put into perspective, we size our goals.
Human as we all are, our immediate tendency is to remember first what happened last, and as it is, my first thought about this year that is drawing to an end would be that it was a terrible one, filled with uncertainties and doubt, financial hardship, humiliation and pain, a year I would be glad to see behind my back. But those were only the last four months of the twelve. Because, I am to be truthful, the eight months prior to these were amazing.
They were happy months, they were filled with ideas and creativity, they were calm and money wise quite easy going, we were even able to spend a couple of weekends away, something we had not been able to afford for so many years.
Those were months filled with discovery, with a learning curve, a kind of a balancing act, at least for me. How to balance all those things I usually take up into the hours of a day, along with homecaring and a small boy? I had just gotten myself a new camera, I was learning how to photograph with it, I was creating my own style, working hard on this blog and at the same time writing a novel.
And those were good times, I confess. I was having a blast, I still am. As I look back on the images that made up the first year of this blog, the one we are now leaving behind, I see such evolution in my photography, in my creativity, in my vignettes.
But what first comes to mind is the memory of those dreadful days filled with worries of not being able to pay our bills, of having to keep asking our family to help us financially, the sleepless nights blaming myself for the whole thing, for having decided that I would be a stay at home mum and thus not bring any income into the household, the guilt of sponging off of my hardworking husband as I sat down to write a never ending novel that will never be publish and a blog that will get me nowhere.
Those are the moments I recall the most vividly, the bad ones, the ones that made me doubt my choices and my life options, the moments when I draw into myself and stay away from other people, as they would just press upon me that it were my options that brought us here. Yet, thinking back on the whole, my certainty that we are happier on the whole by living this way is reassured, reinforced.
Everyone has different ways of living and of feeling, and different ways of being happy; and those things that do make us happy are different from person to person, individual to individual. Would I prefer not to live in a financial tight rope? Yes I would, there's no denying it. But what happened to us these last four months were way out of our control, responsability or fault. It was unpredictable, and had I been working, it would have come much to the same. Those four months of financial worries would still have happened and I could not be blamed for them. And still, they have taught us much, they have given us so much, those months.
And as I stop to think, and to take stock, those months were important for my self growth. Were important to reinforce bonds between us as a couple and as a small family. Some couples would have parted their ways, perhaps, the relationship strained by the uncertainties and doubts and fear. I like to believe it has brought us closer together, it has united us even more, when one of us was down and despaired the other would pick up the pieces and gently speak of hope and change and a better future. We did that to each other.
And so here I am now, another year coming to a close, and perhaps I have nothing to show for it. Not on the exterior, at least, not things that I could go and show off and brag about, but I was never one to do that. And yet, if I look back, I see so many small victories and achievements, changes that are so meaningful to me. My never ending novel has taken an unexpected turn and I am now finishing up the second volume, and there's a third one on the go. My blog looks good and makes me feel good, even though it is such a small thing. I love spending hours working on it.
My photography skills have evolved so much, and if I have one goal for the upcoming year, it is to get even better, and practice even more, and learn and study even more. My cooking skills are improving and my creativity seems to be at a height, another goal for next year is to keep it up like that. My writing has suffered a few hiccups, and I have not been consistent with it, but still I have a process in my writing that is quite unique and mine, and I have long ago decided that I am a slave to the muses of inspiration and should never force but go along with them - they come as they want, and I find myself having to drop everything and go with them, there are days where I can spend the whole day writing, chapter after chaper of good stuff, and then there will be days where nothing will come out of me, and what eventually does is forced and not quite good enough.
So if I am supposed to take stock of this past year, I have to say that even if there have been pretty rough patches, it was a very good year, it was a very fun year, it was a gratifying one. It was also a lonesome year, as I have taken out of my life so many people that I wasn't able to keep there. Maybe I am the worst person on earth, the worst ever friend, but truth is, I have reached a point and an age that I cannot force myself anymore to be around people who put me down, who make me feel bad about myself and my choices, my life, people who feel they have a right to tell me constantly how I should be living and giving me unwanted advice on my own life as they disregard whatever counsel I may give them - even if it is just a great shampoo I came across!
In that sense it has been a year filled with alone moments where my mind analysed my past and I was able to see what I had been pulling the wool over my eyes about for so long. Realising I have been surrounding myself with people who expected my support and my building up their confidence but who never gave back in that sense has been a true release. They are not bad people, not at all. And it was probably my fault that I allowed myself to be treated that way for so many years, and made to feel that way for so many years. It is hard, pulling away from people whom you have called friends most of your life, it is hard to decide it is better to be on your own than to feel constantly chastized and made to feel unworthy and never be forgiven for a small slight that was completely innocent, while you have been forgiving the inumerous times you've been hurt and let down when all you needed was the comfort of someone sticking up by you silently, without judgement. It is hard, but it was necessary, and I do feel better for it, even though I might feel lonelier.
So another one of my goals this year might be to become less of an antisocial hermit again, and learn how to trust friendship again, and come out of my seclusion and want to be around people again. It might. But I just don't know about that one. Maybe I still need to do a lot of soul searching, a lot of alone time before I can allow myself the luxury of making friends once more. Maybe I am already so damaged in that aspect that I cannot make friends anymore. I dunno! For the time being, it will be me and mine, and my camera and my writing, and my never ending hope that one day something amazing will happen - because it usually does, as I keep hoping for it, something amazing always happens, even if it is just a batch of photos that came out really well, or a chapter that has been particularly well written. So it is with a gratefull heart that I bid goodbye to 2014 and it is wide eyed and hopeful that I approach 2015, and it is with a huge smile that I thank you one and all for coming along with me here, on this blog.
May your year be full of blessings.