Fast away year old year passes, Fa la la la, la,la,la,la as the song Deck the Halls goes. This post is not about caroling, however, but taking stock.
How did the year go for you? Hopefully better than than the coal miner in Tennessee Ernie Ford’s song Sixteen Tons, just “another year older and deeper in debt.” My year was better than the one prior. But looking back, I believe while I didn’t backslide and certainly didn’t get deeper in debt, I don’t feel as though I made much progress either. The climb toward my goals seems endless and painfully slow. The economy is moribund in spite of propaganda to the contrary and especially so in the area where I live. You know future prospects are not bright when they close a large elementary school, which they did last year. I was resolved to move and that has not changed but this is a step which requires three critical things, research, planning and money.
That moribund economy is really putting the squeeze on item three, money. Creative thinking on a high order will be required there. Research and planning cost only time and I can arrange that since I am not spending a lot of it working. As the midnight hour of New Years Eve approaches a sense of urgency propels me. Over the past three months I have been going through the parts of my life, my possessions, habits, and practices. I have been clearing out, deleting, unsubscribing, cancelling and donating. Obstacles, distractions and inconveniences have been eliminated. Organization and systems have been created that should allow me to have full focus and concentration on attaining my goals, the main one being to find a community which provides the goods and services I need without hours of travel. Secondary to that is to have a dwelling that is not in constant need of fixes, taking hours of my time to make stop-gap repairs because the landlord feels no need to keep up the most basic house maintenance.
I made myself relax and enjoy the Christmas holiday, not just in spite of that sense of urgency but also because of it. I am no longer willing to let external demands set my priorities or my time allocation. I am done with the tendency of people to demand instant gratification, whether on the phone, in the store or in expectation of action by other people. I shut down my laptop and connected my workstation to a streaming of beautiful medieval and Renaissance Christmas music. I turned off my cell. On Christmas eve I left all the lights off but the string on the artificial trees that are part of the cat’s “jungle” and a few candles. I listened to audios of holiday ghost stories, Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, A. M Burrage’s Smee and several by the master, M. R James.
I took time to make a nice dinner, roast pork, pumpkin soup made from the pumpkin I saved and cranberry orange sauce that simmered in the slow cooker filling the house with it’s spicy sweet odor. I had previously made ribs from this farmer’s pork and was immediately surrounded by cats demanding a share, which they could not have since I had cooked it with garlic. It was so lean and flavorful I made it this time so the cats could have a little in safety as a treat. That, and extra rations of catnip marked Christmas for them and they were quite satisfied. That, and a treat of eggnog marked Christmas for me and I too, was satisfied. Simplicity prevailed and peacefulness.
Rest and renewal before new action is a better way to wind down the old year than frantic activity, at least for me and the cats, who are practiced hands at complete relaxation followed by amazing bursts of energy. I often find following their example is very beneficial and it has been thankfully so as this old year passes.