Reflective NY Blog from Somewhere in the Middle of the Tasman Sea

This time last year we were traveling all around North and South America with my family, my best friend and his family.

Checking out Glacier National Park in Chile
Checking out Glacier National Park in Chile

Have been missing them, and remembering what an absolute comfort it was to share the adventure with them and the handful of friends we made that trip.  At least we will see them IMMIDIATELY – IF NOT SOONER (our friend Gabriel’s catch phrase) once we arrive back in our beloved Land of the Long White Cloud on Monday as they are there visiting for Christmas.

Gabriel and the children at Sabatini's at breakfast
Gabriel and the children at Sabatini’s at breakfast

So much has happened since then. Some things have been wonderful, others terrible, and many simply indifferent.

The year has brought unspeakable grief, as well as lofty and hard-fought triumphs and accomplishments, both for us personally and for people we know and admire.  New babies have arrived, while other children and people have been called away too soon, leaving a lot more questions than answers, but living on forever in the hearts and minds of those left to mourn them. Couples we know and Love have purchased homes or tied the knot, while others have made the final arrangements in going their separate ways.  Just like any other year, 2013 has been punctuated with joyful and terrifying new beginnings or anticipated, sometimes shocking, or even on a few occasions, long overdue endings.

On balance this has been the year we have stayed closest to home since our first ever-overseas trip together more than a decade ago.  Unfortunately, staying close to home did not mean getting all that much closer to those we know and Love.  The year whizzed past and appointments were made and frequently not kept to spend time with the people we hold dearest.  In a household that used to open its doors several times a month, or even a week for dinners or parties, we found that just getting the kids fed and watered and meeting work and general commitments and appointments left us with precious little time or energy for much more than sleep.

Perhaps we haven’t made the strides we’d have liked to in our environmental and alternative energy initiatives.  But we’re always moving forward, however stifled the pace may seem. We’re palpably close to re-wiring so that we’re hooked up to the 8 Kilowatts of solar power that is collected from the cottage to service our primary property in the city.  That’s going to feel great.  My parents bought us a worm farm for Christmas (thanks guys!), our third electric vehicle will be arriving soon, and Grumpy is still working on a stunning little micro-hydro system to ensure we can power through our energy needs (including charging the cars) during the rainy days of winter up in Matakana.  And last but not least, I am still making plans to try and get us completely off grid for 6-12 months and surrounding the move with the single most elegant and engaging PR campaign EVER!  Do I have to stay in the country for that whole time?  I guess if we actually do plan on being carbon neutral, my travel addiction will have to take a back seat for the duration.  I break out into a cold sweat just thinking about it though.

Some other stuff has popped up, big stuff that is taking priority at the moment and will do throughout the year.  I have faith that it will come together how and when it should though.

So, as is customary, I will start the year with lofty and ambitious ideas about the things that will be accomplished with some Hobbit planning and savoir-faire.  I’ll likely fall short early and hard and probably just carry on much the same as I do every year.

I will, however, share with you a short list of things that will absolutely be made a priority this year, and I encourage you to take a few moments to do the same.

1)  Laughter will be an absolute priority:

We already laugh loud and often, but instating some sort of quota and ensuring it is met might be something worth investigating.  Is there an app for that?  There ought to be.  I may get Grumpy working on it…

2)  More nature, less Internet: 

I may have to take extreme measures such as joining a tramping club or finally buying a paddleboard or sea kayak so we can walk to the bottom of our yard and venture out onto the harbour.  Finally planning and planting the extensive food forest we’ve been talking about for years now.  So watching it grow, and raising the kids to get out and pick and appreciate fresh fruit and vegetables was once a pipe dream that is set to become a reality.

3)  More visits: 

More, actual, look people in the eye and hear what they are saying and share words and hugs and laughter in person instead of on social media VISITS.  A few months ago, I ran into a woman who I Love and admire beyond words. I had not seen her in person for nearly a decade.  We caught up in Manhattan of all places, and just touched the very tip of the iceberg on what has come to pass for us since our exceptionally close friendship way back in the late 90’s.  She is only just up the road, and I mean to see her, and so many other people, and when I do, it is a touch of magic and the most effective and sincere remedy to the constant nattering of my frequently troubled mind.  Friendship is a mighty force indeed, and one that I fear I take for granted.

4)  Get rid of stuff. 

I want have a serious desire to just have less crap!  I’ve taken an awesome step in the right direction by curbing consumption this year.  I used to relish shopping and picking up trinkets or hunting bargains on our travels or even in our own back yard.  I took a 6 month self-imposed shopping sabbatical which successfully changed my habits in that department in a real and lasting way.  Christmas shopping was an absolute chore this year, and precious few people got gifts.  Yet, as far as I know, all the salubrious and flourishing relationships remain pretty much in tact.  So yes.  Less stuff.

5)  Take it easier.

So, among the many things I know, yet frequently choose to ignore is that failure is actually an option.  Trying and falling flat, can be a far more fruitful and useful endeavor than getting something right or having it fall easily into place.  And as long as a person is always moving, learning, and growing, there’s no need to move mountains all the time.

There’s a fairly long list of other stuff I intend to do of course, but I shall leave it there.

Hope that the New Year is safe and amazing whatever you may be doing.  And if 2013 was less than stellar for you and yours, I do hope that you are able to leave it behind and have a much better 2014.  It’s my year (Chinese Astrology) and I expect great things are afoot.


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