Friday, January 1, 2016
The Year of Living Dangerously
For most of the world the title would mean climbing a mountain or selling their home and becoming a vagabond or getting married, yet again. For me it means pushing the envelope just beyond my comfort zone. I have almost all my life (except for one crazy year upon graduation from college) been the person who did not believe in burning bridges. Never know when you might want to cross them again. But I have always believed in strategic retreats to high ground or safe caves.
Retreats are not as easy in a small community as they were in my moving around days. I find myself rather firmly rooted to my spot on the mountain. So retreat is to my studio or behind my camera on in front of my computer. I am not totally convinced the computer is a retreat, but that is a subject for another blog on another day. Retreat is closing myself off. And this year is about opening myself up.
The year 2015 was about finally getting myself free of a toxic friend, bringing a new cat into my life, and re-involving myself into my community. Specifically the art community; being more actively involved. I generally prefer being behind the front lines. After all, I was the one who helped form an art organization with no organization. And it has worked quite well.
I do a lot of things in my life in that manner. I may not burn my bridges but I can pretty effectively turn my back on them. In my youth I broke up with lovers and friends with huge fights, often in public places, one even became a police incident. I am famous for slammed doors, declarations of Never More and Over My Dead Body. In my dotage you will get an eye roll and me exiting the building, oh, so quietly, or deleting you without fanfare from my friends on Facebook. It is about stuffing my anger and hoping you will just go away.
Anger stuffed is stress. I had thought it was Zen. And the last half of this year the stress began to get to me in the form of health issues. And, in typical form, I did a and this shall pass pronouncement or keep on keeping on. Denial is a survival skill mentally, but it can also kill you physically. That said, 2016 will be more focused on health rather than weight. I tried skipping meals in 2015 which did not work. Could have killed me, and I didn't even lose weight. Besides, dieting is just more stress.
Are you under any stress, the doctor asked in Urgent Care.
"Me?" I too quickly responded, then listed a couple things.
"Uh, huh," she said, making a note.
"Well, and then there is . . ." and I added a couple more things.
"Working too hard?"
"I'm retired," knowing that just meant I was not getting a salary for things I do like a job.
"And conflicts?", she asked as I frankly searched for a way out of the conversation. "Difficult people in your life just now?"
"Could this be about low blood sugar?" Note changing the subject does not always work.
This year will be about reducing stress.
And if reducing my stress requires I tell someone, in no uncertain terms, to stuff it, then that is what I will do. Now where did I misplace that mountain top I retreat to.