Okay. Another holiday season has blown by in a blur of homemade Christmas gifts and back-to-back work programs. Yes, my days were comprised of scramble, scramble, scramble to get everything ready for yet another day of activities at the old museum, and my nights and weekends were spent painting, painting, painting glass panels for my family’s Christmas gifts.
Note to self: if I want to make everyone’s gift myself next year, start them in July.
And now it is January 1, and in just a few short weeks, The Realist Adjusts the Sails will be celebrating its big Zero One. I have to admit, I am pretty gosh durned proud of myself because when I started this blog at the end of January 2014, I was not expecting to really stick with it. I thought that TRATS would go just like any other personal project I tend to undertake: lots of dedication and gusto at the beginning, and then slowly but surely petering out…
I remember the day I decided to start TRATS with a clarity that belies the fact it happened almost a year ago. I had been toying around with New Year’s resolutions for well over a month – yes, if I’m actually going to sit down and comprise resolutions, then I want them to be the kind I will actually attain – and the itch that was start a blog had buried itself in the back of my brain. But if I had a blog, what would I write about?
I tossed around the idea of a hobby tracker – how much time I spend on my personal pursuits – but didn’t think I would have enough material on reading, crafting, and riding a bike to keep a blog going. So I kept trying on different ideas… as I headed to see my (now former) primary care physician. After he barked at me that I needed to lose weight, and “the only method I know that is successful is Weight Watchers,” that is when the bell literally gonged in my head: a hobby tracker blog, but one that also incorporated my weight loss journey, and while I’m at it, my actual physical journeys as well (i.e., travel).
I was excited by the project when I finally honed in on it, but I thought, at most, TRATS would be a way for me to chronicle how much time I spent on things like reading, crafting, and riding my bike. And how Weight Watchers was going. And my adventures in traveling. I had no idea the process of writing entries for TRATS would open so many windows into my soul.
I think back on this past year, and how much reflection I poured over my life. How that reflection changed the way I looked at experiences I was having. How I feel like I am not just growing, but evolving into a person I want to be. I remember my cruise down and around Cape Horn last March, and the day our ship made it to the end of the world. I’ll never forget the feelings I experienced as I stood on our stateroom balcony and absorbed the raw power of untamed nature as we sailed past it towards that legendary island at the southern tip of Tierra del Fuego, in part because I wrote about them. I reflected on them. And in the months after I returned home, I have spent many hours thinking about the experience – taking it in and making that trip a part of who I want to be. Today, I will stop and gaze in wonder when I see a spectacular sunrise, or a moon so bright, it turns the whole world silver. And I will be fully, 110% in the moment… just like I was on that stateroom balcony.
I think back on my decision to get sober, and how the writing about sobriety I believe is a large part in why this has been my most successful undertaking to date (114 days today). I have felt the pull of alcohol weaken bit by bit over the past months to where, today, I can go for several days without even thinking about having a drink. I still have a long way to go, but now I know TRATS will be one way I stay sober, and one way I will continue to win in my fight against alcohol.
And yes, TRATS has become an outlet for other challenges I face, such as my continuing saga with contact lenses that leave my eyes puffy, inflamed, and sore, and chronic fatigue that can knock me flat on my back for hours (hours!) at a time. And it has been an outlet for my favorite pastimes, including the lunacy of bicycling in LA, reading anything that sounds even remotely interesting, and traveling to far flung places like San Diego… but TRATS has also become the chronicle of a personal odyssey.
Which is the path I want to keep TRATS on as we enter 2015. This will be a momentous year: J and I are getting married in October, and if we get our way, we will spend our honeymoon in another powerfully raw landscape: Iceland. I’m sure wedding planning, which I hope to start tackling in January, will become part of TRATS. I want to spend more time on the causes I have come to care so passionately about – the protection of wildlife and the safety of all our animal companions – which means entries that blast animal abusers will pop up here and there. As I approach 9 months of volunteering with 826LA, and 2 months of volunteering with Kitten Rescue, I hope to incorporate more reflections on those experiences, and what it means to be a part of both organizations.
And since reading, cycling, crafting, and traveling are all big factors in how I identify myself, they will still be here too. Although I guess that does mean I need to get off my lazy @$$ and start riding Artemis again with more frequency…
Here’s to another epic journey! Happy 2015!