A lot has gone on in our family this fall. Actually a lot has gone on our family for the past 21 years, since my husband and I first became parents, and even before, but this fall it was was especially so.
Some of it has been the normal stress and chaos involved with raising three sons and trying to juggle our work and passions. Even when we think things are settling down and on an even keel, something comes up and we say, "Never a dull moment. Why on earth can't we have some DULL moments?"
But some of what my husband and I have dealt with this fall has been especially sad as we come to terms with the cycle of life with regard to our close family members. Even when a family member has led a long, healthy and happy life that should be celebrated for its fullness more than it is mourned, when the life cycle comes full circle, it affects you in ways that go beyond what you expect you will feel as you grieve.
I have found myself not only thinking of the loss he and I have experienced in the past month, but I feel overwhelmed with the very shortness of life itself and the speed with which time flies. Yes, I know that these phrases are as cliche ridden as they get, but sometimes the very truth in them can hit you in the face like walking into a wall does, and your aching head stays with you in the midst of everything you do, think, and say.
Just a post back, before the sadness in our lives descended, I was preoccupied with the whole concept of becoming a collectible on ebay, and how quickly 31 years flew by. Now as we think about lives led and lost, and passing years I spend a good portion of every day reminding myself that as fast as the past 31 have gone by, so will the next 31. And, with that goes the notion that time spent doing things of little importance or enjoyment is time forever squandered.
So I have been trying to charge forward. Seriously. I am trying to think of things I need to get done or have always wanted to get done. Yes, I know that there is some sort of "things to see/places to go before you die" kind of thing out there. But do we really need someone else to make those lists for us? Shouldn't we sit down and come up with our own lists?
Aside from the obvious, like seeing my kids grown, happy and healthy (always a worry and a challenge), and making sure my husband and family, and extended family are warm, safe and loved, as well as trying to always eat, drink, and be merry (a real problem for number 3), here are some of the things I have put on my own list:
1. Finishing up my MG/YA novel
2. Really learning to play my banjo well
3. Sticking to my diet
4. Working on big, empowering canvases again, with paint flying all over
5. Seeing the Northern Lights up close and personal
6. Having some serious time in France
7. Letting my hair grow very long again (have a good head start on that, no pun intended)
8. Getting my bull dog Bitty house trained....
And especially making books for kids-- my obsession and passion.
Some of the things above I have been better at than others, or are more reachable than others--easy to figure out which, I am sure. But one thing that has been the bulk of my time is the book work. And so I have been writing up a storm, and come the new year I will get to work illustrating the books I am contracted for, as well as creating the dummies for the new work that will be, or is in the process of, being shopped around. I am juiced. I am driven. And I am inspired. I feel like the final gift our loved ones leave us when they move on, is the message to embrace life and time, and go for it.
SO--are you moving forward with your own list or putting it off? Have you even made your list? Well, it is that time of year again, isn't it? Don't let someone else tell you where to go, and what to see or do. Figure it out for yourself. Then make it happen. Time might be a-wastin'. And if not that, let me tell you, it's a-flyin' for sure.