© 2011 Marica

Archiving

As one year comes to an end and another begins I go through a process of looking back in the hope that it will help me to move forward. This annual ritual is not always a pleasant process as my family will tell you.

All too easily I become consumed with what didn’t happen and what I didn’t achieve. You know the routine – you start by looking at the list of goals you’d set the previous year, you go through them and discover the truth … I didn’t lose weight, I didn’t exercise enough, I didn’t blah, blah, blah …. on and on I go. Often I am not even aware this negativity has taken over although I do know the consequences of it only too well. I feel sad and worthless as a result. My dreams are discounted. My passions are ignored. My achievements are not even acknowledged, let alone celebrated. The thought of things being different seems impossible. What’s even worse I start to set similar goals for the year ahead because this year it is going to happen – only it doesn’t. I then start to look for all the faults within me that are to blame. And to think – I do this to myself. I choose to put myself through this angst and for what purpose?

Every year I try to change my response to this self-imposed yearly review and every year I return to this same place to a greater or lesser extent.

This year I am determined to change this pattern.

In retrospect it is true that 2010 was a year full of many challenges – my sister fighting endometrial cancer, my mother-in-law almost dying and her difficult rehabilitation process, my uncle in Croatia becoming ill and dying, my son’s ongoing health issues, Lynsey’s job being disestablished and uncertainty over my own job are a few examples of what I dealt with.

As I look back I realise my role was to love, to support, to listen, to physically help out where needed – basically to do whatever was required to help others and myself get through whatever presented itself – and I did it despite the numerous obstacles along the way that tried to trip me up. So even the difficult times were a gift because they helped me to focus on what really matters to me.

It is easy to look back in retrospect and say if only I had done such and such. The fact is we can’t go back. We all do the best we can in any given moment in time. The only thing we can change is what we do next once we realise what it is we would like to have changed.

At the same time 2010 was a year full of some amazing experiences and achievements for me – further developing my portrait photography skills by completing two courses and showing my work in two exhibitions,  being accepted for the Masters in Art Therapy programme at Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design, celebrating my mother’s eightieth birthday, being promoted at work, completing a number of online journalling workshops, going on a five week trip to the UK and Europe, forming new friendships both in-person and online, and creating all sorts of different art works whenever I had the opportunity.

As with every other year of my life what has been is now relegated to the archives of my being. The memories are there should I need to call them up – the good, the bad, the ugly.

None of this need to define the way forward unless I choose it to.

So what have I learned about me over this past year and what am I going to take with me and develop further as I go forward?

I learned that I am so much more than any one thing that I have or haven’t done. I am so grateful for the year that’s been because I have grown and changed as a direct result of all I experienced. As for the year ahead – bring it on I say. I am ready! I have behind me what I have already learnt. I have the ability to be creative and always challenge my thinking. I am ready to learn more this year about me, about life and about living. I am ready to be even better than I already am and that feels great.

Manifesto
02. Every day is an opportunity for a new beginning.
03. Every day is an opportunity to reflect on the past.
04. Every day is an opportunity to cultivate the promise of the future.

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