No Top 10 Lists Here, But...

I'm spending a last blessed day of vacation poking around into other people's other words, catching up on reading some blogs. I noticed a few folks posting their versions of "top lists" of 2009 in recognition of the changing year. I hadn't really thought to do that but 2009 was an eventful year for me and my family on a number of levels. So it probably would do my soul good to do a little bit of a summary of what I've learned through surviving 2009.

1.) What I don't know can't hurt me. As my son started college this fall, and my husband and I agonized over his "transitional issues," as I began calling them, I had to keep reminding myself that if he were out of state on campus I wouldn't even know about most of what he was going through. I even reminded my son of that at one point, when he complained about my husband and I having an opinion about his actions. "If you stopped coming home every weekend, we wouldn't even know this was going on. Since we know, we get to speak up." It was said jokingly, of course, but on the flip side I would occasionally say to husband or myself, "If he weren't home, we wouldn't even know, so let's act as if we don't know." Not that my son gets up to serious shenanigans, just worrisome annoying ones that remind us constantly that 19-year-old brains aren't entirely developed yet. Sigh. In any case, there is such a thing as blissful ignorance. I'm learning to live into that reality.

2.) I'll pay in 30 years for what I do to my body now. Not that there's any guarantees in life, but watching my mom struggle with a series of health issues over the years made me more inspired (once I was dealing more effectively with the depression of losing her) to try to get myself healthy now so I have a better shot at being healthy later. Not all of Mom's health issues were self-induced, of course, but some things were aggravated, I suspect, by the sedentary lifestyle she lead and which I have largely inherited. Exercise first, quilting later. That's my carrot.

3.) I won't get better until I try. I had put off a lot of quilting projects because my skills weren't up to them. I had UFOs on my shelf because I was afraid of ruining them. But the motivation of finishing off Mom's UFOs to give to my sibs or include in the general distribution made me tackle projects quickly without agonizing over them like I used to. Need to learn a new technique to finish this project? Hop to it! Do the best I can and move on. Consequently, I learned several new techniques this year, improved significantly in other skills, and mostly, learned #4.

4.) No fear. At least when it comes to quilting. There's still a rather traumatic experience with a high ropes course last winter that reminds me that I truly am terrified of heights and, frankly, I don't need to overcome that fear to live the rest of my life quite happily. As I said in the debriefing afterwards, "I've embraced that fear and I'm good with it. I don't feel the need to prove otherwise, to myself or anyone else." However, from a quilting perspective, it's a different matter. The fear of ruining something with my lack of skill was piling projects up on my shelves with great speed. Now I'm ready to tackle them and finish them off. The couple already on my walls have an error or imperfection here and there, but no one else but me notices them--or, at least, they're kind enough not to mention it and I'm quite OK with that. I definitely have fears in my life--the number of sleepless nights I've had over my kids or other situations attest to that--but I've not really let them stop me from doing things. So I'm applying that same principal to my quilting. Here's for a fabrically-related-fear-free 2010.

I miss Mom terribly. I'm miss my son when he's actually away from home for an extended period. I miss my nephew who lived with us for three years and just moved out this summer--although comes back once a week for laundry and a decent meal. Our family has had a lot of changes in 2009, and I'm sure 2010 will bring a few more. But hopefully what I've come out of 2009 with will stand me in good stead for whatever happens in 2010.

And now, exercise completed for the day, I'm off to spend the rest of a cold, blustery, wintery day at my sewing machine, with a healthy stew bubbling away on the stove for later. Can't imagine a better way to spend the rest of my last day of vacation. (BTW, added a couple of wintry photos taken out my window today to the photo album below. Nothing exciting--I'm not willing to step outside in this just to photodocument it!)