Welcoming 2013

Interesting clouds over Chattanooga

Interesting clouds over Chattanooga

Having embarrassed myself yet again by writing my blog post way too late at night, I thought I would try writing at a decent hour tonight.

In honor of the new year, it seems only appropriate to think about what I’d like 2013 to be like.  As some of you may recall from last year, I am a bit of a resolution-phobe.  But, it is always good to reflect on a year past and thinking about what things should come forward and which things I’d like to leave behind.

Unreleasable Prairie Falcon in Oregon

Unreleasable Prairie Falcon in Oregon

First, I have enjoyed exploring the world through a camera regularly over the past year and a half.  I don’t think I’ve gone more than 2 weeks without shooting in 2012.  This has provided me with a new way of looking at the world that I can only describe as a sense of careful observation combined with vast appreciation.  I notice things I have not noticed in the past.  I wait for things to unfold with a patience I have trouble finding without a camera.  I work at getting better with both acceptance that I am imperfect and faith that I can improve.  All in all, photography gives me joy and hope.  This is something I want to keep in 2013.

Parking lot in Portland, OR

Parking lot in Portland, OR

Second, during some parts of 2012, I managed to strike a balance between the things I love to do and the things I have to do.  I lost that balance and now I want it back.  Taking time out to bike, row, hike, do yoga, and bird/teach keeps me feeling happy and makes me better at everything else I do.  I don’t have to do any of them really well, I just have to set aside all the things worrying me and go enjoy some time on my bike, on the river, on the mountain, on the mat, or with the birds.  It’s a simple formula that requires making room in my schedule.  This is something I want to regain in 2013 and I don’t want to wait for the weather to get warmer.

Assisting at a Wings to Awareness educational program for 3rd graders

Assisting at a Wings to Awareness educational program for 3rd graders

Third, I really enjoy the time we spend with family and friends.  Living remotely from many of the folks in those categories makes that tough.  For 2013, I’d like to have more contact with more people I feel close to whether it’s over the phone, in person, or via FaceTime, these are the people who keep me grounded.

Sharing Point Park with family last summer

Sharing Point Park with family last summer

Finally, I have occasionally written about finding peace and, through finding it internally, creating it externally.  That’s really what the previous 3 things are about–creating a sense of internal peace that help contribute to more happiness in the world.  It seems like a small contribution, but as the Dali Lama said:  “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”  Besides, a small contribution towards happiness is better than a small contribution towards anguish.  A compassionate, peaceful life.  That’s what I look forward to in 2013.

Enjoying a well-earned view after a 5-mile hike on Lookout Mountain

Enjoying a well-earned view after a 5-mile hike on Lookout Mountain

Getting onto the water not quite gracefully

Getting onto the water not quite gracefully

The Anti-Resolution Path to Resolutions

Every year I struggle to not set New Year’s resolutions.  Every year, I tell myself that I am not going to set myself up for failure one more time.  And then, every year, I find myself excited and motivated about some crazy goal (or, more likely, 14 or 15 crazy goals) that somehow managed to slip into my consciousness without me acknowledging they’re new year’s resolutions at all.

This year, I am going to head myself off at the pass.  I’m going to set a few, simple resolutions.

First, let’s talk some more about being judgmental.  I’m no expert, but it seems like the path to being a bitter and lonely person is to make your way through the world by clinging to small thoughts, thinking the worst of others, jumping to uninformed and unfair conclusions, and summarizing others whole characters based on what may be a few isolated events.

Since “Don’t be judgmental” doesn’t work so well as a resolution–it’s oh, so hard to focus on not doing something–I will instead:

  1. Notice when I am being judgmental
  2. Correct myself in my phrasing or thinking to make it non-judgmental.

For example, if I hear myself saying, “He’s an idiot.”  I will correct myself to say, “In this particular instance, his idea doesn’t work so well.”  This gives me a positive action to take instead of something to worry about avoiding.  After all, if there’s one important lesson I’ve learned from hang gliding, it’s that when we fixate on what we want to avoid, we end up right in the middle of the puddle.

Second, I want to revisit the idea of coming up with great gift ideas for my loved ones.  Since trying to come up with ideas for everyone might be a bit too much to expect, my resolution is to come up with great gift ideas for the 2 most difficult people I buy gifts for:  my nephew and my husband.  The rules for this resolution are that the gifts must be within the price range I normally spend for Christmas, but can be purchased and given at any time.  The gifts must be received and agreed upon to be great gift ideas by both my nephew and my husband for my resolution to be achieved.

Finally, since I like a list to have at least three items in it, I resolve to eat more fruits and vegetables.  I am a bit disappointed that I need this resolution–eating lots of fruits and vegetables had become a way of life for me some time ago.  However, since I find myself eating fewer and fewer fruits and vegetables, I resolve to eat enough fruits and vegetables to average 3 or more servings per day.  By fruits and vegetables, I mean raw or steamed, unprocessed foods.  French fries are not a vegetable.

Three resolutions.  We shall see if even that is too much.