I saw a blog prompt the other day which asked what was your best holiday gift ever. For me, this year, that answer is easy. The best present I have received ever has been this year when I have been given the gift of contact with both of my adult children, and after an absence in one case of nearly 15 years, the gift is priceless beyond measure!
Josie and Grandma, with Chauncey and Poosa
And so for me this year this holiday season has been filled with light, joy, and love. I include a few sample photos in this post and the full holiday photo album may be found here. Meanwhile, how would you answer this prompt?
Why do you do what you do? I've been thinking about this as I write earlier than I might otherwise do because I want an internet badge. What, you ask? Yep, I know it is probably silly but the wonderful site 750words.com has incentives to keep a person writing. It is, by the way, a free site where you just (some just) write 750+ words a day. I started a little over a year ago and today will be my 382nd day in an unbroken streak. There are a lot of days when I don't feel like writing and days when I only write saying how much I don't want to do anything much and that is how today's entry started. But I'm writing before I even have my first cup of tea as I really want to earn the Rooster badge, one of the few I don't have. To earn that I have to write between 5AM (not likely) and 9AM (ok, maybe) for 10 days in a row so here I am making sure that no matter what else happens in the morning I get my words done first. The pets are anxious. Thackeray is being very vocal because he hasn't gotten his kitty treats yet, but the words will happen first until next Monday when I will have earned the Rooster badge. (And then I can try for the Bat, the late night one, which will be just as hard and riskier if I do it at 10PM because if I go to bed before then and forget I not only won't get the Bat badge but I'll break my streak!).
That all got me thinking about why I do things, and when I do them supposedly best. I've just gotten a treadmill and I try to go a bit further or longer or both each day. I set a goal and I shoot for it. I'm doing yoga again, just 10 min. a day, because my doctor says I must. She says it will help my fibromyalgia or at least keep it from getting worse. I've been doing that for a week now and I'm doing it because I was told to, but I have to admit that it isn't easy. I think it is hard to get going when I hurt and doing yoga with a nasty headache isn't my idea of a good thing, but I was told to do it for my own good, so there I am.
I find the quilting is going faster and better when I set myself a deadline and so the next two quilts I'm doing for Vashon Youth and Family Services will be ready for pick-up next Monday. That allows me some slack. The deadline is not unreasonable, but it keeps me moving as I don't want to disappoint VYFS or the mother and son recipients, so I will find the odd moments in the next few days to make the backs and pin the quilts and then starting Friday afternoon, I'll quilt, square, and bind them.
And my biggest effort of late, writing my novel in the month of November, was done under the challenge of writing 50,000 words in a month (that got me another badge on 750words.com also, by the way!), and I now have a certificate, web badges, and a t-shirt proclaiming my success. I still obviously have a long way to go to finish the novel as this is only the first draft, but I have to admit, without the challenge, without the fellow participants, etc., I might not have written my first novel, something I have wanted to do for many, many years!
So maybe the badges and incentives are silly. And I'm sure I would be better off if I had different motivations, such as doing the yoga and the treadmill out of a sense of self-love instead of because I was told to for my own good, for instance. But until I develop that ability, the badges do help and I do manage to make my own challenges along the way that keep me chugging and keep the quilts going, and so forth and now, in spite of Thackeray's complaints, I have a draft of a blog post done, so not too shabby for first thing in the morning.
What keeps you going? What incentives are effective for you? Or do you even need incentives? Have a super day!
I receive e-mail prompts for suggestions of topics to write on and most of the time I'm finding they aren't very applicable. But today's got me thinking. The prompt was "What's tougher: living with someone messy or someone noisy?" I'll leave you to answer this for yourself if you are so inclined, but it got me thinking, since I live alone (well as far as another human is concerned), which is tougher, living with someone or living alone.
Obviously if you are living with someone, the answer would depend greatly on who the someone is. In my youth I was in a marriage for 20 years which I knew was a mistake by the end of the first year. But I'd made a commitment and I was also scared of being on my own. Of course it wasn't all bad, and I have two beautiful children as a result, but the marriage broke up when my answer to the question was it would be better to be alone.
Now 23 years later, having lived alone for longer than I lived with another, at least as an adult, I ask the question again. There are definite advantages to living alone. I can rebuild my home exactly as I want it and have the colors of paint, furniture, fixtures, etc. ordered to my tastes. I can set up my day as I wish and have meals when I want, etc. I have no one to answer to if I decide to quilt all day long or write a novel in a month. Of course, as I listen to Thackeray complaining because I haven't tended to him as he thinks I should, there are family members who put in their opinions, but for the most part, I order my life as I wish. And that is a very strong positive, for sure. I'm not honestly sure, at this point in my life, having been alone for so long, if I could even change.
But there is also a flip side and at this time of year that flip side seems stronger. It is lonelier and scarier living alone. Things happen and I have to be aware that if I fall, or as happened a short while ago, if I wake up in the night with my back out and unable to move, I'm on my own. And even without accidents, there isn't the sharing either. Now it is true that probably no one else would watch Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas as many times as I am this holiday season! But it would be nice to share it with someone. It would be nice to go to the movies with someone, or talk about the book I'm reading, etc.
However, if I am honest, at the moment my health limitations are such that I just don't have the energy for being with people, at least the energy required to begin a relationship or a deep friendship and so I suspect I am, as is true for most of us I hope, exactly where I need to be. My therapist is constantly pointing out that everything has a blessing and a curse attached to it, and being single is no different from other situations in that it has its bonuses and it has its drawbacks. But overall it works for me, thanks in large measure to my furry companions who have no problem with my singing "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" at top volume! I hope this finds you well and happy in whatever situation you find yourself.