REAL RIGHT NOW | Look Back to Look Forward

Last January, inspired by my friend Katrina, I posted a deceptively simple exercise. In truth it was really quite difficult and time consuming – and worth it. Over the past few years I’ve learned that we all need to take time to reflect rather than rushing headlong forward into things. It makes it easier to avoid making repeated mistakes we often do when we’re on auto-pilot.

What are 3 accomplishments that you were proud of in 2018?

1. I am proud to have started writing my novel. After a few false starts, primarily mistaking setting for story, it is almost fully formed in my head. Even more, I am happy to have come up with a writing process that works for me. I am supporting my novel project with regular weekly writing classes with Brian Henry at Quick Brown Fox, the Continuing Studies in Creative Writing course at the University of Toronto, and occasional writing retreats. That combined with dedicated writing time during my days, the story will be finished and submitted to somewhere by this time next year.

2. I am proud of getting out of my own way. I hoped to get out of the house more, and I did. Trips taken (Turks & Caicos, twice! Tucson, AZ;  Algonquin Park; Austin, TX; Scotland; Jackson’s Point; and, Charleston), concerts enjoyed (P!nk; Eagles; Phil Collins; and, Mumford & Sons), countless cups of tea, lunches and dinners with girlfriends, family events attended, courses and classes taken.

3. [AGAIN and ALWAYS] I am proud of raising four kind-hearted, independent, challenging, engaging, driven, smart and quirky young adults. They are all coming into their own in their own time and in their own way. It is so much fun to witness. I am grateful to all of the family and friends who help this single mama in my quest to bring out their best.

What are 3 things that you loved in 2018?

1. I loved traveling this year, particularly my visit to Scotland in September with my sister and my solo visit to Charleston, SC in November. It was fun to be with my sister for one trip and then be completely alone (after a group retreat) for the other. I have physical memories of these trips in my kitchen – my fabulous new wine glasses found in a restaurant in Scotland and a cookbook with many recipes for the delicious food enjoyed in Charleston.

2. I loved the process of raising four monarch butterflies from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly. The process was fascinating and nothing I expected. I never thought I’d be visiting abandoned property to cut milkweed (or that I’d send my kids to gather it for me!) to feed the hungry, hungry caterpillars. I am glad for the experience though doubt I’ll do it again next year BUT I’ve procured a number of milkweed seeds and hope to plant a garden to encourage monarchs in my backyard next summer.

3. I loved having my ugly back yard torn apart and transformed into a beautiful oasis, exactly the way I want it. There is a beautiful new deck, flagstone patio, fire pit, bubbler, privacy screens (that actually work at keeping down the noise of the kids in the neighbouring pool), new fence with bat house built in, new shed and concrete stairs on either side of the yard that are clean and easy to maintain. The lighting and plantings are fabulous and will only improve in time. It took from April through August to complete – there was only one day missed due to bad weather – so I didn’t have much opportunity to enjoy it. I’m looking forward to next May when the weather will call me back outside.

What are 3 things that you promised to do in 2018 and didn’t?

1. [AGAIN] I didn’t lose any weight. The plan was to lose 25 pounds. Then another. Then maybe another. Then life got in the way. [Note: this will be a goal until it is met!]

2. I didn’t get the house completely organized, clutter-free and beautifully appointed. I made plenty of progress (the backyard project is complete, the basement is painted a beautiful shade of teal, the living room and kitchen are furnished, so is my bedroom) but it’s not yet how I want it to be.

3. I didn’t open my art gallery/gift shop in downtown Oakville. After learning the rent was $17,000/month for the ideal location it had me rethink it all. That’s a crazy amount of money in a town that is slowly dying and not supported by municipal government. I’m thinking a Pop-Up (a limited call to action store) will be a better format for my purposes, now to figure out where and when.

What are 3 things that you wish didn’t happen in 2018?

1. I wish I hadn’t ignored the pain in my left leg as long as I did. I had no idea it was an infection that would require me to be on intravenous antibiotics for days. The pain was excruciating. I’m grateful though that it didn’t get any worse! Sadly I have to give up flip flops.

1. I wish I hadn’t wasted a year going to the chiropractor consistently 4x each week only to continue to suffer from the same pain in my shoulder that brought me there in the first place. Time to find another doctor who is dedicated to alleviate my pain rather than focus on the rightness of his process.

3. I wish I hadn’t kept buying and collecting books! I had a great idea to immerse myself in CanLit and collected half of them from my children’s bookshelves, but didn’t get to it with other great activities taking up my time. I still have the pile (3 of them) on a table and it upsets me to look at them.

3 BOLD PROMISES FOR 2019

1. I am incorporating all of the modalities I’ve learned – woo and otherwise – into my days and sharing with others.

2. I am excited to travel abroad – a Baltic Cruise is already in the calendar!

3. I am stronger and more flexible, moving pain free. I’ve lost the first 25 pounds of the 75 I have to lose.

How about you? What are you completing and creating?