A little research a few days ago revealed to me that this is the 40th post on this humble blog. Who'd've thunk it? In just ten more posts' time, I will celebrate by copying Goosegirl and others of her ilk and having a Giveaway, which will be of a handcrafted beady nature. It may look like this (look right!) or perhaps it will look like this: (look below!), both being Beady Things I Have Made This Week. Giveaways, it seems, are great ways of getting people to promote your blog. Yes. I have an Agenda. Which is, to increase my readership to, ooooh, maybe 20! The dizzy heights of ambition!
Of course if you are reading this blog, AND you are of a male persuasion, AND/OR you do not wear earrings or necklaces, you may not be feeling very excited about the Giveaway right now. But surely you have a girlfriend, wife, mistress, mother or little sister? OK, then, you're a complete loner who does not wear jewelry. Stop reading this blog and go out and find a food pantry/women's shelter/homeless ministry to serve in - you have about a month in which to befriend a female person who would love the Giveaway, and incidentally by then you will have a life and a purpose and can stop reading the blog anyway.
But all this is irrelevant. This being practically December, I have begun reflecting on the year that has passed since I began this blog on January 1, 2009. When what I should really be doing is shopping for Christmas. Nope, I prefer reflecting.
And what a year it's been! When I began this blog, I was in a full-time job and struggling to keep my braincells from being completely squished by the pressures of work and family life. Then the full-time job abruptly became a thing of the past, and I spent a few months thrashing around in a sea of possibilities. I learned more about myself and about the world I inhabit than I ever thought possible. I watched my children grow and mature by leaps and bounds. Milestones happened: I turned 50, Orangina turned 18, Wasabi turned 16, and Felsted and I celebrated 20 years of nuptial, well, let's call it bliss with a fair amount of bickering thrown in.
I learned a few things. That, for example, I needed to resusscitate the creative side of myself, and celebrate the creativity in others. That life can be rearranged to fit a reduced income quite nicely, if you are fortunate enough to have enough to start with. That volunteer work can in fact be a position of strength and a source of satisfaction, if it truly fits in with your gifts and passions.
Do you need a breathing space? I didn't think I did, you see. I wanted to go Onwards and Upwards with a career, more money, and all sorts of Achievements. Now I've been blessed with some time to look around me, I can see that what I really needed was a little room to think.
Years and years ago I remember reading Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own - I'm sure I owned it once, but you know how books walk away from you. The memory is connected with being on the train, which means I probably read it in my late teens when I was commuting to the French Institute in London. Woolf's thesis, as you may know, is that to be creative a woman (well, any person) needs sufficient income not to have to grind away in a job she dislikes, and a physical space in which to let creativity happen. She's not recommending idleness: you don't crank out as many books as she did without doing a bit of work. My unformed 20-ish self was rather sceptical about this message, because she wanted to earn her living out in the big commercial world, but 30 years on I'm starting to see the value of being able to pause for thought.
In the strangest way, I feel that the last few months of non-productivity in commercial terms has resulted in more productivity in terms of lasting value than in the previous ten years put together. I'd love to know what you think, and whether you've had similar experiences. At what time of your life did you feel that you were making the greatest contribution?
[Apologies for the lack of paragraphs: Blogger reacts strangely to the use of images, sometimes. Does not like my beads, perhaps. Sigh.]