|New Years mochi tower hollaback, when 2009 met 2010 - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
Would it be safe to say it's been a hell of a year? Yes, I think so. We've all had our share of up's and down's, and while it's easy to dwell on the things that didn't work out the way we'd planned (what, no discovery of cold fusion yet?? PFAIL!), there's something to be said in placing value on what was accomplished and how that will shape the challenge of what's to come.
I can only speak for myself, but I can say 2010 has been memorable. Every day was like a little race and every month felt like climbing a small mountain...wondering if a Yeti was going to devour you come Monday morning. This was the year I went to work full-time for myself. The hours are long and the pay kinda sucks for the time you spend both doing and drumming up work, along with following extra pursuits like blogging, but it's probably been the most rewarding thing I've done. This was the year I learned to embrace The Void. That sounds scary and forlorn, but it's an eye-opening experience to step outside of a comfort zone and dare to pursue an unknown future where the only person you really have to answer to is the one staring back at you through the mirror. Cue Michael Jackson's Man in the Mirror (Sham-on!). You make the choice to not view it as a dark, spooky tunnel ahead, but simply a blank book waiting to be filled with whatever shenanigans come your way, no writer's block allowed. The just-keep-moving attitude yielded several incredible things, including getting published in a cookbook, getting regular spots in different publications for my writing and photography, and continuing as a graphic designer.
The passion for food, while significant, is not the center of my world, and that's good, because I don't want to just be about one thing; I sorta enjoy being pulled in multiple directions at once, as it keeps my brain from going stagnant. Focusing on food was a great reminder that the enjoyment and pursuit of meaningful edible experiences is a great analogy for living well and mindfully every day. The greatest lesson I took from the year was to live as much in the present as possible. For me, the preparation of food forced me to slow down and take note of things. The distractions that a more comfortable but predictable life once offered had been removed, so when you stared into that nothingness of possibilities, a funny little voice emerged from the darkeness saying, What are you lookin' at? Get off your lazy backside and do something. Motivation can be a cranky bugger.
Sure, this Void sure sounds like a kooky place, fraught with as much reward as there is panic. And it's not been without a few sacrifices, but it's both liberating and a bit of a relief to realize what you can let go of (vacations, hopes for a nicer car, extra booze money), in lieu of what you inevitably gain (resourcefulness, sense of well-being). So I don't have a lot of clear ideas for what the new year will bring, but that's okay. My only hope that I stare into The Void of 2011 and seek to achieve more creative goals while managing to keep the bills paid.
Last year around this time, I took the photo above of the celebratory New Year or shogatsu mochi, with a bit of fearfulness over what 2010 would bring. I bought this year's satsuma orange (with the stem and leaf this time!) and will place it upon the same eerily-preserved mochi tower. But this time, I'm glad to say, there's a lot less fear and a lot more hope. Happy New Year, everybody.
|No Fear in the New Year - Photo by Wasabi Prime|