Rituals Part I

Rituals are an important part of our life.

They help us mark time, celebrate successes, and mourn our losses. They tie us to our past and help us move toward the future.

New Year is one of those rituals – not one of my favorites – but a major event that turns the page on one year and opens the way ahead.

So, what are your New Year’s rituals? A party, a midnight kiss, waking up with a trashed house and a hangover? Or my favorite – the maudlin, horribly unsuccessful party that goes on too long and is so painful you swear never to have one again – but then you do and it is even worse than the year before. Sigh!

Or is New Year’s all about the lists? The best, worse, memorable, and things we would rather forget.

I’ve been reading a lot of lists – not only are we ending a year we are ending a decade – and everyone has their lists. The thing about lists is it is a lot like performance reviews – unless someone has done a lot of research or kept great notes – things closer in time carry more weight. So much of what we do fades. Memory isn’t perfect (thank goodness) and we can’t remember pain (thank goodness again) and happy memories tend to fade (maybe this in only me).

The happy memories are the ones I miss.

I’ve been a lot of places in the last ten years. In 2000 I was still at Portland State University working on my second degree – working at Oregon Health and Sciences University in the Forte Lab. I had just left my husband in November of 1999 and was on my way to a completely new life.

Life is not a journey that I can take in a straight line.  

The only constant over the last decade is that I’m alone.

What I’m finding, that surprises me, is that I don’t mind. It may be that I am simply tired of finding and losing partners I care about. It may just be time to shed the last ten years – the success and failures – and admit that it was an interesting experiment but in the end just an experiment.

So for the next year and the next decade I’m thinking of a different plan. My wall is covered with post-its with the things that I wanted to do, experience, have in 2009. It was a long list – and here is how did.

Spend more time with the girls – good in the second and third quarter, bad in first and fourth.

Write every day – this has been a bit of a struggle however since September I’ve been much closer and since October 26th – I’ve posted 40 essays on Musings and 16 on my other blog. I’ve written a 3-Day Novel, multiple short stories, and even been paid for some of it. So not a bad showing.

Follow politics again – Yes! I do know some of what is going on in the country and the world. I listen to the news and read stuff on line – so we’ll put the plus column.

Find that still center – This is a reference to my favorite love story. I did it. I did find that still center inside me that grounds me and keeps me moving forward. It is nothing more, nothing less than knowing yourself.

Fall in love – I did this too, it didn’t last, but it was never a story that was going to have a happy ending. But I loved and was loved in return – even if it was only for a moment.

Reach one piece per month published – okay, this was a spectacular failure – I only succeeded in getting one piece published this year (although there are still a few things out there so…)

Get Healthy/Stay Healthy – This I did better and although I’m not where I want to be I am on a better path than I was this time last year when I was fighting chronic migraines.

Not at IHS! – this one I did, but not under my own steam. I was laid off from my lovely job.

Find a community – this one is a work in progress. Partly because I’ve found it more difficult than I expected – finding other writers to meet with, talk with, and share resources – is rather like pulling teeth. Although I’ve become more social as I’ve spent more time on my own – go figure.

Chart new writing course – this is also in process. If anyone had told me six months ago that I would be writing a blog and loving it I would have said they were insane. But here I am.

Be Happy! – I have always believed that happiness is something you create yourself. There were moments this year that were the happiest I’ve ever been – not because of something or someone – but because I’m living my life on my terms.

So how did your plans for 2009 go? Any great successes or spectacular failure?

~ Tess Anderson

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Rituals Part I

  1. Phillip Timmons

    While you might not be to fond of your parties it is because of one of your parties 16+ years ago that I have been married for 14 years as of December 16.
    As always your loving friend Phillip.

  2. Phillip Timmons

    1 wife, 2 apartments, 2 houses, 2 children, 2 broken bones, 4 dogs, and 5 cars. The time does slip by, yet it always seems like it stands still.
    Phillip

  3. Pingback: Rituals Part II « Tess' Musings

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