While I did not plan my 50th birthday to be such a watershed moment, somehow over the past twelve months I have come to believe that this has been a very important year indeed. I am truly "over the hill" but I do not mean that in a sad, melancholic way - it is rather just a statement of fact. The odds of living to 100 years is rather slim, so the age of 50 does indeed mark beyond the half way point of life. In some respects this is a blessing. I have no desire to relive those teen years (although I am surrounded by teens nearly every day), nor do I desire to be a new parent again. I have come to accept myself for who I am and I am no longer trying to impress anyone or fit into any particular group. Yes, there are a few more aches, pains, and stiff muscles, but that is a rather small price to pay over all good health.
What I have come to realize is that if I truly want to accomplish something in this life, then the time is now and not "some day when....." This has been a year of discovering what truly interests me and putting the wheels in motion to achieve those goals. I have always known that I enjoy reading and this blog has connected me with many others who share this same passion. I have added more books to my personal shelves as well as my wish list, that I don't think I will ever be in want of quality reading material.
I have always enjoyed traveling, although that has taken a backseat for several years. I have spent some time this year trying to decide where I truly want to visit and begin some background research into those areas. I know that I will return to Paris one day - and hopefully spend a good seven to ten days rediscovering famous landmarks and out of the way cafes. I also know that I will return to London and hopefully be able to tour a few of the surrounding villages as well. I think it would be delightful to spend a good month or two in rented cottages, but I would settle for a couple of weeks. Italy is one country that the entire family wishes to visit - given my husband's heritage. Rome and Venice and Milan and Florence and Pompeii --- oh, the history and the food and the architecture are calling my name.
I also have desires to travel locally as well. We used to live in New York City and I would love to return to the old haunts at least one last time. It is high on the bucket list to see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in person - from inside a high-floor office building on the parade route. I still have some time to research that possibility. I have always wanted to experience being "snowed in" -- just once. And if I were to choose the one place to be snowed in it would probably be Yellowstone National Park inside a rented log cabin that has been fully stocked with comfort food and fireplace logs. My books would provide the only recreational activity.
I have discovered a few new interests this year as well. For example, I have learned that I not only like to take pictures for family photo albums, but I also enjoy the creative aspect of photography. I have been jealous of those who can draw or paint to capture the world around them, but I am learning that lack of those gifts does not mean a lack of creativity. I want to focus more of my attention on developing this craft in 2011.
I have had a passion for creating family scrapbooks since I was first introduced to the concept in 1995. For some reason I never allow myself the joy of doing this for fun; I always wait until there is some looming deadline before I begin to delve into a project (my youngest's graduation open house is a prime example. That will be in the middle of May and I have yet to complete a single page in her album). I am not sure why I sabotage my own efforts, but 2011 will be the year that I stop. I have so many different scrapbook projects (not the least of which would be a Christmas journal album similar to what Vivienne has shown us on her blog) and I will give myself permission to pursue those projects without apology.
I have also discovered, quite unexpectedly, that I truly love to write. I have always known that I express myself better in written form than face-to-face conversation, but this year I have learned that I really enjoy the craft of putting words on paper and the exploration of point of view in the retelling of a story. I want to continue the pursuit of this interest in 2011 as well.
I think I would like to rekindle my passion for cooking again. Parenting picky eaters hindered that interest for a while and lately my youngest has taken over the kitchen (much to my delight). But when she leaves home I think I would like to rediscover the joys of cooking and baking and trying new taste sensations. Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking has helped me realize that there are others out there who enjoy creating in the kitchen as much as I do, and while I have been rather inconsistent in participating in her weekly meme, I hope to become more of a regular poster in 2011.
I think in short I have discovered this past year that while there is a lot of life that happens outside my control and I must learn to adapt, there is still a lot of life that I do control. It is time to take the reigns and begin doing what I want to do and not just what needs to be done.
While the word that defines the year 2010 is self discovery --- I believe that the word that will define 2011 will be purposeful. Life is too short and too precious to just slide by --- I wish to truly live.