Handmade Spark Fires Me Up
After reading Lisa LeBlanc’s post on Handmade Spark encouraging us to TAKE BACK VALENTINES DAY, I decided to Google the History of Valentine’s Day to get a better understanding of the ancient practice. I’ve always been under the impression that it all had to do with St. Valentine driving snakes out of Ireland, but maybe I’ve got that mixed up St. Patrick.
Lisa created the worksheet that provokes good thought and creates a path to developing self-improvement goals, something I have periodically taken a stab at setting for myself over the years, revealed in this story.
February seems to be the month for sorting and tossing in our home.
Yesterday my husband came across an old plastic recipe box while cleaning out a few kitchen drawers and handed it to me asking, “What’s this mean: ‘Learn to not go into long explanations and to not tell everything I know’?” I muttered something about goals I had set years ago and promptly returned the box to a ‘different’ drawer; one I knew he would not bother to open.
I did not plan to open the box, nor did I plan to toss the box. I hold a secret notion that someday my grand-girls might decide to write GG’s ‘story’ and so I hold fast to bits of my past by keeping safe the journals I began when I was seventeen and letters I write by always making a copy then attaching the response correspondence to the original missive. I know! I know!
I used to re-read my journals on occasion, but found I would weep uncontrollably when discovering that many entries had similar content and over which I continued to struggle! A few years ago, I gave my journals to my dear friend, Claudia, for both safekeeping as well as safe distance!
Because of my journal experience, I was hesitant to open the box; afraid to find out what goals I might have set and failed to achieve, but the box has been nagging at me since being ‘discovered’.
Lisa’s article inspired me to take the chance and open the box. No matter how disappointed I might be with the lack of accomplishment, I was more curious to know what my 30-year old self had listed and I have decided to share with you what I discovered about my 1977 declaration to commit to ‘Self-Improvement and Inspired Projects for Personal Achievement’.
Today while Randy was out playing golf, I retrieved the box from the drawer and sat looking at it for a long time gathering my courage. With a big sigh, I slowly opened the box and read the first pink 3×5 hand written card of three sentences:
- The only difference between a grave and a rut are the dimensions
- As we grow older we develop hardening of the attitudes
- When we keep ourselves overly occupied with meaningless diversities, we’re protected from having to face the fact that we are re-stagnating
Well, at least I made note of some great quotes but I am sure I did not create those words of wisdom and sadly I did not give proper credit by identifying the author(s). Nevertheless, I do not take issue with the philosophy, for I embrace it as much today as ever.
The box held several cards in colors of pink, goldenrod and white. Luckily, I had dated the cards. I withdrew and counted only seventeen cards upon which I had written goals, the first of which I referenced above. I proceeded to read each card carefully, trying to recollect my emotional self at the time.
- Run 8 miles 3 times per week (According to notations, I cut back to 6 miles 3 times a week during a pregnancy in ’77 and was walking-only toward the end. I built back up to 3 miles 3 times a week by March of ’78 and worked up to 5 miles 3 times a week by May of ’78. I did finish a 10 mile run in June of ’78 but I never accomplished the goal)
- Take a drama class (completed a group class in ’77)
- Take a Dance Class (completed 1 jazz class in ’77)
- Work towards a 1977 copyright on the opera’s basic lead sheets (by March ’78 I still had composing to complete. In fact I never finished the opera which was based on Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse. I did write a musical Cowboyin’ Cowgirls in 1983. However, none of the work is copyrighted)
- Get in touch with the Portland Opera Association to do make-up and audition for the chorus (never did)
- Take piano lessons ( I took lessons sporadically over the course of 3 years from a sweet neighbor, Suzy Raines)
- Collect hard-bound editions of classics for the home Library collection (continues today)
- Improve my vocabulary (a constant goal)
- Read more books! (So many books; So little time!)
- Learn to Tole Paint (took a class in ’80)
- Submit poems for publication (never did)
- Write more poetry (poetry dried up when singing ended)
- Listen to more jazz and classical music (all the time)
- Play more tennis and golf (tennis ended with a neck injury, but golf is pretty consistent)
- Read some books about Egyptology (oops! That slipped through the cracks)
- Take some more theatre arts classes (never did)
And so it is with relief that I can take some small satisfaction in knowing I at least swung the bat; a Cheshire cat smile lingers on my lips for while I may not have accomplished all that I listed I continue to set personal goals every month of the year.