Reiko and I in Shanghai, about to throw our ribbon wishes for the new year into the golden tree. Reiko wished for 'good health'. I wished for 'all my dreams coming true.'
The things I've learned or been reminded of in 2010.
So the year comes to a close and I have been reflecting over the past year. In comparison to other years, 2010 will not be known as one of my golden years. However, it has taught me a few valuable lessons in life and so here is my list of things I've learned in 2010.
1. You can always come home.
I have spent several years abroad and I never dreamed at any time that I would move home to Naramata for an extended period of time and stay with my parents. This is pretty normal in many societies, but not in Canada where many people see this as a step backwards or a failing at life. Luckily I nor my parents see it that way. It's been great reconnecting with my parents and exploring how my little town of Naramata has changed in the twenty year hiatus I've been away. It's also stayed the same in some areas too. I draw lots of inspiration from everyday life in Naramata because even though it's a tiny place, there is a lot going on here right under out noses.
2. You can't always come home.
I've been away from Canada a very long time. It's very difficult to come back and feel you are the missing puzzle piece in your home society and now everything is complete again. After I finish my year at University, I will be hitting the road again, and happy for it. though I am happy to come back to Canada to visit friends and family once in a while.
3. It's good to take some time out to spend with your family.
I've really taken for granted how crafty my family is. We all build something in some way. My dad works with wood, My sister and I pretty much do anything, and my mother sews. We all get enjoyment out of it and sell a thing or two! My Dad is hilarious, my mother is a force to be reckoned with, my sister is my best friend. There isn't much more I can ask for in this regard.
4. I can't sit still, and I think this is a good thing.
A psychiatrist would probably give me something to calm down and relax, but I am a very fidgety person. In Ayurveda, this would be a very 'vata' like trait. But it's also the force that drives me. I am constantly working on several projects; in my mind I'm planning new adventures and thinking about the goals I want to achieve. I think I've noticed this most of all when sitting down lately to watch a movie or TV. Unless it's Dexter, I just can't do it, and even then I have something in my hands. But I like this because I move forward on things very quickly and have lots of time to contemplate my next moves.
5. Sometimes you've got to suck it up.
It would be very easy for me to pick up and head for a job overseas that would bring me wealth, adventure and beautiful photo ops but I know deep down it's better to put my nose to the grindstone and get this next piece of paper. Why? So I can get an even BETTER job overseas with more wealth, more adventure and even more beautiful photo ops.
6. A healthy mental state, healthy body is everything.
For some reason, I have met several people with some form of mental health issue this year, and strangely enough, all in Vancouver. Whatever the reason Vancouver contains many mentally ill people, I have seen first hand how tragic not having a clear state of mind can be. I can't imagine what life must be like for those people and their families, and I say this with full compassion. But I also am so grateful that a chemical imbalance is nothing that I nor my friends and family ever have to suffer through.
7. I have an amazing appreciation for the people who work in the textile industry.
I have been sewing one project for days and I have now a new-found appreciation for the amount of knuckle work that goes into producing any kind of textile- whether it be clothes, embroidery, knitting etc. It has taken me hours to produce tiny things that I know small Indian children with nimble fingers could produce in a few hours. It's a sad situation for many people in the developing world and though I understand people have to support families, I hope the push to create better work environments for sweat factory workers continues to improve.
8. It's important to have goals, big or small, and work everyday towards sticking with them.
I have decided to really document the goals and ideas I have for this year. When I plan a trip, I plan an itinerary. The trips I have taken with zero plans have not always been the best trips. But the trips that have a rough plan with room for flexibility have always been the best trips. I have decided that I will tackle 2011 in the same way, yet this 2011 itinerary is just for me and I've even created charts and graphs to check my progress!
9. I need to work on having a little more fun, a little more adventure in my current situation.
I miss my old expat life. But see #5. So I have to work on creating more fun and adventure here in Canada while I am here. The clock is ticking, and I ought to do my best to enjoy it, because it's very easy for me to start living in the future and not in the now. And this life on the flip side is most likely very temporary.
10. I am extremely lucky to be surrounded in the community of friends that I have.
I have a spectacular, interesting and wonderful group of friends. And I work very hard at not losing those friendships, especially during this self-imposed sabbatical. Anyone who makes an effort to keep in touch is an A+ friend in my books. And during my last not so pleasant months in Vancouver, My small group of friends in Van really stepped up and I am forever grateful. I Love you guys! And to my international friends who keep in touch, I love you too.
Happy New year! And may 2011 be a Golden Year for all of us.