I think social commentators must be calling 2011 the Year of the Great Shift, because everyone I've spoken with this year seems to have gone through a growth or transformation of sorts. Some had a renewal of their faith and a rededication to their cause. Some experienced a loss and are on the grieving path. Others have welcomed new additions to their families. Certain people have even won the lottery. But no matter what life gives us, it seems we have all been through more growth this year than in several of the years past combined.
Some of those commentators also say that time is speeding up. Personally, I believe it.
My life has whooshed past me at an increasingly rapid speed. My son, my BABY, is nearly six years old and this year he started Kindergarten. Before that, he never left my side, yet he has been enjoying himself at school and has learned so much already. He's at that age where he's still a little boy and I can still sense his innocence, yet the things that come out of his mouth are often shocking and hilarious. Kids indeed say the darndest things. I think he's destined to be a comedian, but we'll see what comes of his mature and perceptive sense of humour as he grows.
After having declared that 2011 would be the year I'd stop cleaning homes for a living, I spent the better part of the spring and summer in my yard, working in my garden, learning how to grow food (even when the weather isn't cooperating). I soaked up every moment I could with my son, who I knew would never be my little pre-schooler again. I planted nearly 50 trees in my yard and most of them are evergreen. A few are fruit trees, including a cherry tree we planted for my son so he'd have his own tree to grow up with as the tree was about the same age as he was. We have a large berry patch because we want to be able to let our children someday go berry hunting in the back yard. I also have a giant perennial flower garden, inspired by my Grandma Lorraine's horticultural prowess, but also somehow my own weird version of a 'French Provencal" garden includes more herbs than anyone would know what to do with. Watching my 12-foot long hedge of oregano alternating with lavender grow up and flower was about as thrilling to me as watching a child grow.
I'm not sure all of us know what makes us happy until we are considered "old" by children.
When I decided not to clean anymore, because it no longer made me happy, I still did not know that I would end up writing for the paper, but I am glad that I have been given an opportunity to share myself and my experience as a writer with my community. By most definitions, I was a bona fide hermit until September.
I must say, I have been astounded by what I've witnessed in Weyburn these past three months since starting my job as Reporter. You amaze me, Weyburn. I've enjoyed observing events and interacting with people whom I'd never have met under any other circumstances. We have some real gems in our community.
Seeing what goes on around town tells me that Weyburn is growing strong. We have a city that is growing together in ways that make larger communities want to pull up their socks.
For most of us, the impact of the flood damage was enough to revolutionize and redirect the focus of our priorities. What teamwork, what care, what generosity!
If the world has shifted and things are likely to get even crazier, it's comforting to know I'm back in my home town where people truly take care of each other.
Recently, I became a voting member of the Weyburn Arts Council, which is exciting for me because I get to be part of a very special group of people. I also see that Weyburn's growth potential is conducive to the kind of paradigm-shifting the world needs as we continue sharing this small blue planet with an increasing number of people. I believe strongly in the Arts as a vehicle for transformation of ideas and customs. The greatest people in history were fostered in communities like ours.
My values have always held fast to music, art, communication and nurturing. After reacquainting myself with my home town, I have realized where I get these values. I'm by far nowhere near becoming a Great Canadian, but I encourage you as individuals and as parents to dream big for what you can cultivate within yourselves and your children.
I'm in my mid-thirties yet I don't feel like I've come even close to growing up, really. I say this because I feel younger in body and mind, not because I am in any way irresponsible. But I have a hunch that I will be saying the same thing fifty years from now, if I'm anything like my mothers before me. My wrinkles will be from smiling and my days will fly by me because I'm having fun.
But youthful I shall remain, at least for a while yet.
Most kids probably take for granted that things like gaming systems, computers, cell phones, i-pads and fancy TVs are part of every household. But anyone who appreciates books and real music as much as I do - including as a preference over electronics - would agree that indeed we are all tremendously privileged to have what we do in this country.
My plans for growth in the New Year are plenty and I look forward to sharing my perspectives again with our readers in 2012.
May you have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!