My Year of Living Dangerously

This time of year, the news reports and magazines are full of exploring the year in review. Seems an oxymoron to me, didn’t we all just manage to live through it? I thought we explored things we weren’t familiar with – intimately.  Even though time doesn’t exist except in one’s mind, we all seem to come to the point in December when we look back at the last twelve months and vow to make the next twelve better. We’ll lose weight, get a better job, spend more time with our family…

It’s a good exercise, actually, if done properly. It is sometimes too easy to focus on what went wrong or didn’t happen, versus reality and the lessons learned. Popular lists center on things like The Worst Disasters of the Year, The Worst Fashion Faux Pas, and The Worst Moments in Sports. We will read lists of great humans lost to us this year, and relive moments of terror or tragedy. It’s hard to remember so much good happened to each and every one of us over the past twelve months.

To outsiders, it might be easy to focus on the few sad events in my life this year and say, “You had a difficult year.” I tend to think they are missing the bigger picture, which was a year of tremendous personal growth and gratification. I went out on the tight-rope without a net. I’m sure it is down there, somewhere far below, but I don’t intend to ever need it. When I started this blog, I knew I had to give myself time to write. I was knee-deep in a memoir entitled Byfield To Bali And Beyond.

Here we all are a year later and the memoir is published under a different name. I have seen that dream evolve and found things I really, really love doing. Unemployment has been both a watershed and a nightmare. The Yankee Guilt, (I double-dog dare you to find anyone with more guilt than Yankees, not the baseball team) of taking money for nothing and the shear debilitating frustration of “selling” oneself is probably a top ten reason for suicide or at the very least heavy drinking.

Co-workers of the past sixteen years began to fade into mere entries in the address book. I found a world of friends in beekeeping, hospice, this blog, and the barn. I reconnected with folks who graduated from High School with me , forty years ago, and forged new bonds with people who appeared in my life just recently. Looking back on those early posts of a year ago, I read my enthusiasm and sense of purpose. Change is to be embraced and participated in to our fullest. It opens so many new paths, a cornucopia of possibilities.

To all those who are part of my life; let’s have more great days of wonderous photo opportunities, more magic rides in the mornings, more Pace Events, more kayak trips, more bee keeping adventures, more times to reflect and connect.  Let’s write more blog posts and comment freely to each other when something strikes a chord. Let’s snow shoe more often and giggle every morning over coffee long-distance. May new babies thrive and new businesses flourish. May you wake up every day and feel refreshed and new.

Writing this blog has sharpened my skills and desires. I have “met” some truly gifted people through this cyberspace and believe kindred spirits seek each other out.

So let’s take stock of the last twelve months and focus on the wonder and humility of what we did and how life changed. To steal a quote from here :

On particularly rough days when I’m sure I can’t possibly endure,

I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100%

and that’s pretty good.

If life must go on changing, and the next twelve months are no deviant to the rule, I look forward to getting through the shit and reveling in the joy.

Happy New Year to all. Thank you for making me a small part of your life.


Shameless “selfie.” Hey, be glad I wasn’t twerking!

7 thoughts on “My Year of Living Dangerously

  1. You made me do it – I had to look up twerking. No thanks. I agree that there seems to be more “Worst” lists than “Best” lists. I saw a neat idea on fb. Take a jar and write down good things that happen during the year and then on New Year’s Eve take them all out and read them. It helps to be reminded of good things! Happiest of New Year’s to you!

  2. I like the idea of looking back to see what went right or appeared as unanticipated openings. Much more has happened than I would have dared dream, and I’m starting out 2014 in a much different place as a result.
    Sounds like you’re doing the same.

  3. Happy New Year Martha! I enjoy your writing so much and relate to you in many ways as an over 50 person that ditched the corporate pressure and found happiness in my God given talents. I went from driving all over N.C. As an account coordinator for Lancôme to painting and selling my work-and teaching art to 40+ students a week. I work 10 hours a week in jeans in my home and quadruple $ from the 40 hour a week position. I think God blesses us when we use His talents.May this year bring you success using your gift as a writer -and it will!

    • Thank you Kim, for your support and kind words. I am blessed that we have reconnected and love that you are following in Polly’s footsteps as a painter. Do you have a website with your work on it that I could visit? Jeff said you are very good. It must be in your “jeans”/genes!

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