From Where I Sit – Clean Slate

Beginning on New Year’s eve afternoon and continuing on to the next day, Roy and I finally tackled the laminate flooring job that’s been hanging over us for months. No champagne, no dance, no party, no midnight kiss (we’ve both been under the weather for some time and really didn’t need to swap bacteria).

In honour of the facelift, we opted to replace the awful reddy-orange stained mahogany baseboards and casings circa 1962 with pre-primed wider profile pine ones. It was during the somewhat mindless, yet meditative, painting of these wood pieces that I began thinking about the new year.

I wasn’t thinking resolutions. Heaven forbid! I’m too old and pragmatic to believe that those arbitrary, date-specific, and life-altering decisions are anything but doomed to failure for most people. Don’t get me wrong, people can and do make concrete changes to improve their life and health. But the time has to be right, the motivation and support in place, and the reward well in sight.

What I was thinking was that I’d just be content to start 2005 with a clean slate. No baggage or unfinished business from the past.

What better way to begin a new year than to apologize, here and now, to anyone I may have hurt? I truly try never to deliberately hurt anyone, yet unconsciously and inadvertently, I probably have. It may even be a crime of omission rather than commission. I know I haven’t spent as much time as I should have calling, writing to or visiting those I care about. So if I’ve seemed busy, pre-occupied, in a hurry or absent altogether, forgive me. I’ve taken concrete steps to give me more disposable time very soon. Though I’ll always be busy and engrossed in countless projects, expect to see and hear more of me.

Author Julia Cameron and others write about this very thing. The need for writers, artists and others in creative pursuits to pull away, focus, and sequester themselves in order to do their work. We walk a fine line trying to balance our need for human contact and interaction with the need for quiet contemplation and execution of our ideas.

I wish I could say that I had something miraculous to unveil. Unfortunately I’ve gotten bogged down just plain working too much at my day job. That’s about to change. I will begin, yet again, to try to order my life in such a way that I fulfill what I believe to be my life’s purpose and yet not lose myself in the process. I need to reclaim the time and energy to read, paint, write, and complete more Athabasca University courses. I want time to go for lunch with friends, blow a day in Edmonton, start and finish projects, rejoin groups where my membership has lapsed, take a nap or escape with Roy.

But first things first — first the clean slate. That’s a good way to begin a new year from where I sit.

*Reprinted with permission

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