“The days are long but the years fly by” was something my sister-in-laws said to me when we were bringing up our toddlers. A day felt like an eternity at times as we struggled to navigate through those early days on minimal sleep and endless demands. Fast forward to 2017, in which my son turned ten and my daughter, eight. This year is the first year that both my kids said to me “This year has gone really fast”.
So what to do when the year flies by? You grab it by the tail and take a good hard look at everything that needs to be re-examined and you let go of anything not worth saving. There were plenty of moments in 2017 that filled us with awe and wonder. There were also terrible and excruciatingly senseless acts and impossibly sad moments. Life is weird and wonderful. Sometimes events make you want to curl into a ball and stay hidden from everything and everyone.
Give your mind some space
It is ok to give yourself the time you need to regroup; however, sometimes no matter how long you turn an issue over in your mind it will still not make sense. So you can choose to try to solve an impossible riddle or you can choose to focus on what does make sense. Meditation can help. Mindfulness can focus you on what is happening right in front of you rather than you being overwhelmed by everything happening in the world.
The best thing about life is that it goes on. So if you are struggling and can’t face the thought of another awful year, re-focus on what is going right. Start with one small thing that is good. There may be more than one…
Celebrate your achievements – big and small
This year Purple Cords Press almost sold out of This Present Moment: An Art Therapy Journal, which is a great result for a self-published first time author! The launch of the Creative Mindfulness e-course was exciting, with over 30 people joining for ten days of mindfulness. This e-course is now offered any time of the year.
2017 was an incredible year with my band The Double Happiness. This group is a fantastic creative outlet and gives me so much happiness (double!) and fun. We gigged around Brisbane at some of our favourite bars and venues and we even entered a Battle of the Bands! We didn’t win but were thrilled when a band of four brothers aged 13- 20 did! It was also wonderful to play support to Nice Biscuit, which is illustrator Grace Cuell’s band.
A highlight was performing at the Icon Cancer Foundation Gala to raise money for cancer medication trials and research. Watching a room full of oncologists, including my former oncologist who retired last year, dance to our songs was priceless!
The This Present Moment 2018 calendar was the final Purple Cords Press offering for 2017. It features my photography and twelve quotes centred around kindness, courage, creativity and compassion. These themes will be familiar to those who have read This Present Moment: An Art Therapy Journal. Purple Cords Press donated 50 calendars to Choices to help support its services to all people with cancer.
Yes it has been a wonderfully creative year, filled with excitement and energy. It has also been a year of tragic losses of many dear friends both new and long-term. There was more surgery that thankfully went very well. I continue to have chemotherapy every third Thursday, which is for life. This means chemo is both a life saver and a long term medicine as I am intending to be around for a very, very, very long time!
Set a new path for 2018
As you look ahead at a whole new set of 365 days, know that while we cannot predict how the year will be, we can choose to focus on kindness, compassion, community and creativity. A new year is the unknown, and whilst the unknown may be scary, it can also be exciting in its possibility.
Yes, the days are long but the years fly by. I hope you can find something you are both curious and passionate about to fill your days with.
Happy New Year!