And a happy new year …

It seems that another year has come and gone.  Year  2010 was one of the most tiring years for me.

It was just a year ago that I was beginning to settle into my new house.  That likely has something to do with it.  Buying a century home, one that was not necessarily properly maintained by the elderly previous owners, can be tiring, but I bought it with the knowledge that it would be a project.  What a project it has been.  I have painted every room, changed some light fixtures, refinished the bathroom cupboard, door and hall closet, changed out old counter tops and ripped down the upper cabinets in the kitchen, moved a cupboard, built a bed, a table and installed a great sliding drawer in the kitchen, stripped and stained and refinished the stairs, and laid new dollar store vinyl tiles in the bathroom.  I have taken down four half-dead and ugly cedar trees from the yard, built four gardens (two vegetable gardens, two flowerbeds), planted some new trees and shrubs, made a new address plate out of mosaic tiles, and dug out the driveway/expanded it/spread the gravel (with lots of help).  Combined with the day-to-day care of a home, it has been nothing short of a busy year at home.

And then, there was the emotional trauma of not realizing that a permanent contract meant that I would automatically be considered surplus after the first year of the contract (funny how they don’t mention it in the job ad).  So stress was shovelled onto my plate.  I struggled to clear out the classroom, apply for jobs, and then move back into the same classroom, for the same kids, for another round in Grade Six.  The stresses of teaching never cease to amaze me.  It is the kind of job that is ongoing, all the time, never-ending – I even dream about it.  I have had nightmares night after night for many months now.  In fact, I can’t even sleep anymore!

I also acquired a kitten and a puppy, to add to my growing brood of animals.  I really should live on a farm. 

And, I bought a new car.

What a year!  It hasn’t been without its ups and downs (lots more than ever before, it seemed), but it was a year I will never forget. 

My new year’s resolution – as awful as they are, because who ever keeps them(?) are attainable this year.  They are as follows:

1) To write more, at least once or twice a week.
2) To do more art.  And, to take a course or two to improve my art.
3) To walk the dogs daily.
4) To improve my general routine – wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to get up earlier than the latest possible time I could sleep in until?!
5) To update Facebook less, and to update my blogs and website more (visit my teaching blog at www.theteacherwithin.blogspot.com, and www.patrickg.ca for my art/writing/everything).

I wonder, in a year from now, where I will be?  Time slips away so quickly, and things can change instantly.  Will I still be in this house?  Will I have finished the floors?  Will I have completed last summer’s “To Do”?  Will I have a book in the process of being published?  Will I have a full time job?  Will all three dogs still be around, or will the older ones leave for the big farm in the sky?  Will I be updating this blog, only to realize that the last post was … this one?!

Everyone grows and changes daily.  I know that my ideas can evolve rapidly over just minutes, and given a few days I may have figured out a potential thesis that could be written and hypothesised around any given subject.  It boggles my mind that I struggle so much with improving my writing and art and teaching – and that it has always been this way.  Ever since I can remember, it has never been good enough for me.  I suppose it is that great artistic dichotomy – one minute, I see myself as a frigging genius.  The next, I’m a total failure.  In one ray of sunlight, it’s beautiful.  In the shadows of my critical and technical eyes, it’s garbage.  So it makes me wonder … where will I be in a year?  Who will I be in a year?

Here is to 2011 – a blank canvas, awaiting a few happier strokes.  I wish you, and myself, a happy new year.

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