Monday, December 5, 2011

Finishing what we start...

I truly love December.   I love anticipating the first snow - which transforms the bleak landscape into a winter wonderland.  I love the festive celebrations and spiritual truths surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ.  And I love the peaceful rest that comes between Christmas and New Year's.  It is a time for me to reflect on the previous year by fondly remembering the highlights, as well as evaluating some necessary resolutions for the months ahead.  It is this anticipation of wiping the slate clean that energizes me - and usually causes me to take on more than I can handle.

The old saying "my eyes were bigger than my stomach" not only pertains to the dining table, but in all aspects of my life.  I immediately start to think of a new exercise routine and how I can easily fit thirty minutes of aerobic activity into my daily life.  And as long as I am at it, I could also add ten minutes of calisthenics before a quick shower.  Of course, the stress level in my life warrants some attention, so some deep breathing and beginning yoga classes would be in order.  Now I know many of you already follow this kind of healthy regimen and probably more.  But this goal is too lofty for me and I know if I attempt to incorporate all this change into my life at once - I will fail before I even start.

But this year I would like to do something different.  I would like to finish what I start.  I hope to reacquaint myself with the treadmill - perhaps 20-30 minutes four or five days a week.  Slow and steady wins the race, right?  That will be the focus of 2012 and perhaps in 2013 I can add another exercise routine to the mix.

But eating and exercise are not the only areas of my life where I tend to overextend.  I often manage to transform a relaxing pastime into a stressful event.  I am enamored by color (probably because my own personal outlook of the world is so black and white - but that is the subject of another post).  And while I really do not enjoy sewing - I love the patterns of quilt fabrics.  I have already purchased material for holiday table runners (both Thanksgiving and Christmas, neither one made so far) - matching placemats and napkins - a girly quilt for Brynn consisting of bright pinks, greens, and whites -  and a sudoku lap quilt for myself  made with nine different batik patterns of varying shades of green and purple.  I even spontaneously joined a quilt block-of-the-month group because the choices in patterns were either Jane Austen - Laura Ingalls Wilder - or Agatha Christie.  How could I resist?  That was in September.  I have yet to take those pieces out of the packaging and have been too embarrassed to pick up the other three months.

In 2012 I would like to complete one of these projects - just to say that I actually quilted.  I am tempted to declare that project will be the sudoku quilt, but it may end up being the 10 minute table runner (which took me three hours to make -- but hey, who's counting).

And then there is the photography interest that has yet to get off the ground.  I have read numerous books on the subject and purchased several of them for my own personal library.  I have taken a couple of online classes to help me develop my own creative eye - and yet I have taken very few photographs.  There is fear lurking in there somewhere.  Fear of what?  I have no idea.  But I would like 2012 to be the year that I actually get out of my head with photography and go out and actually take some pictures.  I have no expectation of the quality of these photos - just that they represent my perspective of the world.  Perhaps I will be inspired to write an essay or two from the pictures I take - or perhaps I will decide to scrapbook a few of them in a personal album.  But those goals are secondary.  I just want to feel comfortable behind the camera.  I want to learn to document my life in pictures.

And then there is the realm of books.  Since starting a book blog, my personal library has grown exponentially.  I have not read a novel in nearly a year - and yet I continue to browse (and sometimes purchase) more.  My most recent purchase was the entire series of the Harry Potter books in hard back for $40!  And here is what I have learned about myself.  The more choice I have .... the more paralyzed I become at making a decision.  When my personal library was small, I was a voracious reader - but would rarely buy one book without having read one from my own personal shelves.  Now that I have so many to choose from, I find it difficult to select just one to read for fear that there is another one that I might like better.  It is a mental illness,  I am sure.

So in 2012 I have decided not to join any reading challenges (as tempting as many of them sound).  Well, at least I did make that proclamation until I caught up on the posts of A Novel Challenge.  But even then I plan to only sign up for two challenges that I fully intend to complete.  But that will be the subject of a separate post.

I have already rambled long enough here, but hopefully you understand my predicament.  I do not want my energy and sense of anticipation to wane after January - but I want it to continue throughout 2012.  I want to start new projects - and I want to actually complete them.  I want to set goals for my life - but I want them to be manageable so that lifetime benefits can be realized.  I have much that I want to pursue in the years ahead - but I need to learn to pace myself so that I can actually enjoy life itself.


  1. Your eyes were bigger than your stomach only because of your enthusiasm for life and all of your varied interests, so it's not totally a bad thing.

    I'm cutting way back on challenges next year too, because I totally bombed them this year.

  2. I love the new layout! And I love the post!

  3. I love the new layout! And I love the post!

  4. I can so totally relate! I've declared 2012 the year for using all the amazing things I've been collecting for the past couple of years and trying not to add too much more to the piles...physically and mentally:)

  5. Molly, so many interesting things I want to comment on but I will start with this "You haven't read fiction for a year?!" I hope you can remedy that one soon. You know CB James is doing his TBR Dare again from 1/1 to 4/1 where for three months you only read books that you own as of 12/31. It was amazing last year how enjoyable it was. I cleared away some things that had been sitting or a long time and I ended up finding some real gems.

    As for the photography, just think if we were still living in the world of film and processing charges. With digital you can take about a hundred bad photos for every good one and not worry.

  6. Oh gosh, you're not alone -- we all have have-finished projects, abandoned hobbies. Just take some baby steps and don't sweat the small stuff. One day, you may be in the mood to make that quilt. Or perhaps you'll run into a friend who needs a project and you can pass your stash along.

    Glad to see you blogging again.

  7. I can't begin to start listing all of the things I've started and never finished! I think it is always a good thing to reflect on the y ear and to hope the following one will bring changes and/or routines one can stick to! I love reading your's another thing to add to your!

  8. I forgot to add that I LOVE your new profile pic and the blog update!

  9. I just love to read about what you are up to. Always so interesting, even if you don't finish, Molly. Keep at it. I sit here with piles all around me of unfinished projects. Tomorrow, my goal is to finish just one little one (after I meet my daughter for coffee, that is).

    Love you new header and look. Something I need to update soon.

    Good luck.

  10. Finishing what I start is an issue for me too. I find that having a few small goals and focusing on them before setting new ones is helpful. Good luck with everything.

  11. Over-committing and not finishing what we start seems to be a universal trait, but I admire your determination to set some goals and reach them.

    I have quilting projects waiting to be finished, and more waiting to be started, so I would do well to follow your example.

    However, putting too much emphasis on the destination can take the joy out of the journey, so allow yourself a little wiggle room, too.

    Look forward to reading about all your wonderful projects.

  12. This is a wonderful post, Molly, and I can relate to a lot of what you say. I tend to be a bit extreme in my projects as well and am trying to do a little bit of everything. This year I made really small goals in a variety of categories but then didn't slave drive myself to really keep track. Last week I revisited the list and was pleased that I had done all but one. I try to keep in mind that goals are best acheived when manageable.

    So glad you're back blogging Molly--I love reading your thoughts.


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