Hope the holidays have been wonderful for you and yours. This is my end-of year note - primarily to alleviate residual guilt for not sending cards (I love getting them but can't bring myself to do the work of sending), and also to allow myself a little personal reflection. Bonus is getting to keep in touch with those dear to me :)
I've been from hither to yon this year, in hundreds of ways it seems. I've gone from engaged and nervous to single and peaceful. It's not the being single, but rather the getting really solid about how I move through the world, and the internal clockwork that is stronger than ever.
Staying true to ourselves at all costs is a balancing act - with the demand of constant evaluation. And when you get to Happiness, you have to fight to keep it. But I'm finding the diligence pays off!!
My delectable dessert is to finally not be just intellectually ok with being single but also deep down in my gut. This has to be one of the biggest sweet victories of my life. Makes 2008 a success no matter the stock market.
This transformation was hard fought, hard won and is something of a theme for the year - internal growth and big revelations - and also a culmination of years of work.
Not that it will stop friends and family from worrying about me, (grin) but that's ok. I'm sure I'm good for them, y'all, at least sometimes.
People who take large risks, whether financial or emotional or physical seem to exist to make the rest of us appreciate safety. And while I still love the thrill of taking chances, I have to say being a bit more jaded, works in my favor. I'd recommend it to anyone - even optimists.
I've also traveled a wide arc in the career/financial arena - from a fantastic job that raked in the dough, top of my career, to suddenly laid off and looking. A Sabbatical wasn't what I had it mind, a year ago, but that's what has happened. It's been just what I needed.
The gift in this is that the search for my Life's Work continues, in several major cities that I love - Atlanta, Charlotte, but primarily St. Louis. Even considered Winston-Salem, where the sisters live, if something comes up there.
Holding to my vision doesn't mean it will happen right now, so it could be another IT job, or Project Management, or even litigation technology, but I'm trusting that Spirit will lead me to something fantastic. I'd love to travel and find a way to bring healing to the world, even if just one small corner.
My hope is for non-profit management or teaching.
A great part of this year has been reconnecting to many high school and college friends, and staying more connected to dear Charlotte and St. Louis friends. Facebook is a great tool for socializing when we are spread all over the country, and lead such full lives!
As far as the kids, they had a great year for the most part. Patrick is a Junior in high school now, and Madeleine is a sophomore. Both are thinking about colleges and working on keeping their grades up. Both have Honors and Advanced Honors classes, A/B averages and have made new friends in the Nashville suburb where they live.
Madeleine is doing community service work and has gotten involved with several clubs at school, while Patrick is still supporting his Thunderbird with working at Rack Room shoes and dreaming of a cool Mustang.
I try not to think too much about Patrick driving, (he's a good driver) or his grades sliding because of work, or that Madeleine is so beautiful that she could forget what I've taught them about beauty is on the inside.
Mostly I am humbled to speechlessness at what amazing people these kids are becoming. Probably in spite of me. I used to pray with them at night, and ended with "Thank you G-d for making me their Mommy." Still do with my little one :)
Gwyneth is in 4th grade and we've been homeschooling since November, when we moved all our things into storage. It's been interesting, hard and fun but rewarding. Until we settle in a new home it's the best way to keep her moving forward. She reads like a demon (go figure
My mantra is "Do no harm." lol But Latin, French, chess and knitting, math theory are not for the faint of heart.
Gwyneth was taking cello this last Fall, but with the shifting we haven't picked it up again. On the list for 2009 is cello for Gwyneth and voice for Madeleine (again). Hopefully Patrick will go back to lacrosse - he's really amazing to watch.
Speaking of plans, we are officially in transition now and I've begun to discipline myself to stop making plans until something definite works out in my career. It's actually another good sign - slowing down to wait for the right answer to bubble to the surface.
I learned this lesson years ago, when making some major decisions in my life. Ever since it's at least some comfort to keep waiting for that sense of peace when I choose a path. I can always look back and be sure I did the best I could, as we all do, whether we know it or not!
My work with homeless teens had to pause during my months of moving and travel, but I'm planning to re-engage in Atlanta and will be creating a database for tracking grants for them. I'll also be helping with writing some grants, so anyone with experience in this arena, I'd love to hear from you. Who knows, maybe that will be my new calling - helping foundations give out money to the best non-profits. I used to have several non-profit clients when I was an independent consultant so there is some sense of how much I enjoy working with people who devote their lives to making a difference.
I continue the knitting of my life, not smooth and predictable but loops built on loops, and often bumpy. But still a useful thing emerges, eventually, at least a testament to the things we don't understand - the timing of tragedy, seen in friends with cancer and debilitating chronic illness or in the faces of the homeless; the moments of sweet grace that fill my heart to the brim, sunset on snow, bald eagles in the wild, my child's embrace, holding hands with someone you love; G-d herself.
It's good to get to the point where Love is still everything, and yet just a gift. It's great to get stuck, and then unstuck this year, and learn deeply what is to be learned. It's good to be grown up, and still not know what I will be.
Best of all, it's beautiful to know that my friends and family are on the journey with me - each of us alone, and together. Thanks for going wild places with me.
"We can do no great things, only small things with great love."