January is traditionally the time people make resolutions.
Over the years I've made a conscious decision not to do that -- having decided I was much too good at "self guilting" and I didn't need to come up with new excuses to do that.
The past three years I've been part of a couple of different email lists made up of art quilters (there actually is some overlap between these two groups).
One of the recurring themes on these lists this time of year is the selection of a word for the year that will serve to guide and encourage the individual through their personal art endeavors for the coming year.
Let me note here that the membership of both of these lists seems to be closer in age to mine than to my daughter's. (Which really doesn't surprise me as I watch my daughter juggle career, motherhood and home responsibilities, I feel like I'm looking through the looking glass back almost 30 years to when I was doing the same things.)
I was especially touched by an email written by a member who is more my daughter's age as she is struggling to find just a moment or two between the diaper changes and cooking and laundry and hundred other unending tasks to create.
I was equally touched by the calm reassurance of an older member who had been there and done that and who sought to reassure this young mother that she is already creating and that she should hold onto that spark --- the demands of a young family change and time will come.
This whole exchange confirmed for me why it is that so many women are what I call "serial achievers".
For many of us the pathway is similar:
When we are in our 20s we are getting our education, finding a career, meeting our spouses.
When we are in our 30s we are raising children, juggling home and career, wondering if we'll ever find a moment to do anything creative (or feeling guilty when we take a moment here and there for ourselves)
By the time we hit our 50s our children are off to college or homes of their own and we find the time we looked for to begin a whole new adventure.
For some of us that is enough to scare us away from that creative spark -- we've spent too much time putting it of to "tomorrow", or "next year", or after the next ____ (insert important personal event here).
The question that we should ask ourselves then is: "what am I waiting for"?
So I have decided that this year I will choose a word for myself as guidance for the next year.
And that word is BRAVE.
When I am tempted to put off something because it is scary or because that is easier than doing it, I need to be BRAVE.
At this point in my life it's time to stop putting off to another day. I've retired from that corporate career; the children are adults; now is the time to do those things I've been waiting to do
Time to be BRAVE