At the beginning of each year, I take resolutions seriously. And when those resolutions start to flag, Lent kicks in. So it is like a one-two punch to focus me on spiritual and other goals.
Of course, that doesn’t mean everything sticks. I am always amazed that I can wake up in the morning, make coffee, look at Facebook on my iPad, watch “Morning Joe,” and get most of the way through my day without remembering that I am a believer, journal-er, contemplative pray-er, photographer, lifelong learner, student of Greek, musician and all of those other goals I set for myself. Maybe I need to tape a poster to the ceiling above my bed that blares, “REMEMBER YOUR RESOLUTIONS AND SPIRITUAL GOALS, DUMBASS.”
So here is a synopsis of what I wrote in my journal on December 30, 2017. I notice I did not mention blogging, but here we are. So I am putting it in black and white for all the world (haha) to see and judge. If anyone actually is reading this, please share your thoughts and own intentions – spiritual and otherwise – for 2018.
This is about me being 61 and Sue being 71 and recognizing that we should not be squandering time together. We have signed up for a Road Scholar trip to Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos; I am currently reading “109 East Palace” about Robert Oppenheimer and Los Alamos, because we will be visiting there. We have decided to try camping this spring and are accumulating sleeping bags, lanterns, a coffee pot, Coleman chairs, a Coleman stove and other essentials. (I have never built a campfire; the Cub Scouts were doing that while we Brownies were making sit-upons.) Together, we are listening to an audio book, “Rising Strong as a Spiritual Practice” by Brene Brown, and we traveled by car, Metro and bus to the National Cathedral last Sunday to hear her speak. (More on Brene later!) We have a couple of other trips planned, besides the camping, and my workload is pretty minimal.
So I would say that segment of my 2018 goals is on track.
This week I informed my fantastic guitar teacher, who took me farther than I ever dreamed on my Gretsch Electromatic, that I would be suspending lessons. Practicing was becoming a chore, mostly because I am not quite sure why I am learning stray Beatles songs and blues riffs and strum patterns – or what I will do with them. (This is the Type A showing through.) My dream was to play in church with a small praise-y and gospel group, but I am not able to keep up yet and I am stuck on keyboard. So I am setting that aside for awhile, because there is also . . .
- Photography and digital painting. I have a Wacom pen tablet and have owned every version of the Corel Painter software since 2011. I keep upgrading, with hope and ambition, and now have the 2018 version. I buy extra brushes with names like Grunge, Dust and Debris, Smoke and Steam, and Wilderness. It is so awesome, but I am still a beginner after many false starts, online tutorials, and how-to books. This is the year: My goal is to digitally paint a photograph and exhibit it at the local Art League.
- Learning Greek. Rosetta Stone was having a big sale, so I now have two years of online Greek lessons. This is about my desire to someday read the New Testament in the original Greek so I can learn it without the embellishments that were tacked on by early Christians with various agendas. I have had one lesson to date. This is a long-term journey.
- Music. Last year I traded in my Yamaha console piano for a Yamaha Clavinova, which is an amazing and fun instrument/band/orchestra. A year later, I have not played it as much as I intended. That is why I suspended the guitar lessons, and today I am going to a weekly group lesson where I purchased it. The Clavinova was a significant investment.
- Geographic Information Systems. Without really boring you, I have always loved cartography. I invested in ArcGIS software as part of my planning business. I just want to get better at it.
In my journal, I wrote “Still too much.” That was before I stopped the guitar lessons, though. But there’s also . . .
Our spiritual pilgrimage, together and separately, is worth a separate post. We have drifted away from the church we have attended for 13 years, but I am hopeful for a revived spirituality and sense of mission. I am looking forward to Lent as an intense period of sorting, study and seeking. Also, as a member of the House of Deputies, headed to Episcopal General Convention this July in Austin, I have no intention of walking away.
We now have a Planet Fitness in the nearest town, and I have been going steadily since it opened. I invested in a Fitbit Ionic watch and a pair of cushiony Asics Nimbus running shoes in an effort to get my running mojo back. In 2014-15, I ran two half marathons. Now I can’t run a mile without gasping for breath. But for me, nothing shocks the body into shedding fat more than running and I would at least like to be able to run 5Ks without walking. Yesterday I plodded through 5 kilometers at a blistering pace of 15 minutes per mile. But you have to start somewhere.
Now that I have revisited my December 30 journal entry, it seems do-able. And I have actually been more focused and making more “progress” than I realized. Here’s to a meaningful and fulfilling 2018 for everyone who seeks to live with intention.