My New Year’s Day Reflection:
I found myself doing a lot of thinking on this first day of 2013. Thinking about the direction of my life now that I am older and looking at how to make the most of my later years. The words “what do you want to be, do and have in the coming year” kept playing through my mind and I started to realize that I have been changing and evolving the past 3 years.
These years have been the most difficult years of my life. My children are all grown and have moved on to their own lives. I have retired from a career that gave me great pleasure and a focus for my energies. So, with no childrearing responsibilities and no job related responsibilities for the first time in a very long time I was left with free time.
I set out to learn how to play again. I found that it was harder to relearn the second time around. Play comes naturally to children; it is how they fill their day and how they learn and how they keep busy. Sure they often ask for guidance but they get fulfillment out of play activity. However, once we have learnt to be productive working adults, filling time in the pursuit of play almost seems frivolous. I required a change in my mindset. I had to learn to work at playing. That is, I had to make sure that my pleasures had value for me, that the reward was in the experience that at the end of my day of “play” I had that sense of productiveness and accomplishment that I used to get from my career and child raising duties.
In my pursuit of learning how to play I took up new hobbies and sports. I believe the experiment has been successful in that my life is full of new things and I have made new habits and routines for myself. I have filled my days with experiences and challenges that bring me joy and fulfillment. They add value to my days. I am trying hard to not just live a day but I am attempting to be aware of experiencing every day as unique and special.
So what exactly do I want to add to add to my life in 2013 that will give more meaning?
What do I want to be?
I want to be content. I want to be aware of the act of being rather than the title of being. For example I want to be in the moment of writing or in the moment of taking a picture versus being a writer or a photographer. I want to be living in a conscious way and be present for every task I perform. That includes even the mundane activities. These are the challenges. How to perform simple chores with awareness and meaning.
What do I want to do?
I want to focus on doing things in such a manner that I bring joy to the doing. I want to change my focus from concentrating on what to do, and turn it around to focus on the joy of the doing. Making a list of things to do is second nature but I intend to take a moment to reflect how to bring pleasure or meaning to the doing.
What do I want to have?
I want to have more memorable moments. I have come to the conclusion that the value of an object is not in the having rather, the value of the object is in the using of them. When we have an object just for the sake of having it, it remains just that, an object.
When we spend time with that object using it for its intended purpose, we take the opportunity to bring pleasure and joy into our lives.
The enjoyment comes with the using not the having. Think of golf clubs, it is not having them that brings us pleasure but going out to the course with friends and enjoying a game. It is not having those rarely used special dishes, but the dinner with friends that makes a moment. I want to focus on using the things I already have to create more meaningful moments.
So my goal for 2013 is to create within myself a greater awareness of this shift in focus.My lists will include simple pleasures done with awareness. My goal is to: be content, do every activity with joy and have more meaningful moments.
Renate Dundys Marrello
2013 – 01 - 02
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