I woke up to a blanket of white snow yesterday. It was the first significant snow of the year for us. We had a couple of light snowfalls before, but nothing that really stuck or looked nice. In fact, everyone seemed to be commenting on how warm the weather had been.
Keith and I had gone for a walk the previous evening (New Year's Eve). We walked down our street to the end of the block where the old mill was located. It is always a nice walk – especially at night when the stars are brilliant in the dark, Nova Scotia sky. Even though I don't know many of the constellations, I can always seem to pick out the two dippers as well as Orian's belt. They shift position depending on what time of year it is, but they are clearly recognizable, and I always find their presence to be almost comforting, like a familiar face of a friend.
It was cold walking though. I was happy that I wore my full length coat. I had purchased the coat the year I came here to Nova Scotia and I call it my "bear coat" as it goes nearly to the ground and has a thick, heavy lining that makes me feel as if I was being hugged by a bear. But it is warm and even though I am often cold, whenever I wear it, no matter what the temperature, I feel comfortable. This evening was no different.
As we walked down our block, I thought about the year coming to a close. In a few hours it would be over and a new year would begin. I reflected on all the good things that occurred in 2014, as well as the losses, and it made me once again realize just how fortunate I was.
Many good things happened in 2014. The business grew and we had our best year to date. New opportunities arose and new friends and acquaintances were made. I also learned many new things.
But everything wasn't good every day. It seemed like many people that I knew or knew of passed on. I expect it wasn't more than usual, but with social media bringing us even closer together, perhaps I was just more aware of it. I also noticed that many of those who passed on seemed to be closer to my own age than previous years. That also is probably expected. As I get older, it is only logical that I will be seeing more and more of my own peers pass away. It is a sobering thought that only makes me appreciate every day a little bit more. It exemplifies the fragility of our lives and teaches us that every day that we are here is a gift. I think sometimes we forget that. Or perhaps, in our youth we feel we are so many steps away from our end that it is of little concern to us. Maybe that is how it should be.
While I don't want to dwell on things of that nature, I don't see anything wrong with being aware of them. After all – to me the only days that I see as "wasted" are the days when we don't take time to appreciate all we have. No matter what time of year.
It doesn't take a new year for me to appreciate things. I am one of those odd people who enjoy Monday's. I always say they are my favorite day of the week, because it symbolizes a new beginning and a fresh start. When I worked a regular 9-5 job, it always seemed that the first day back to work after the two day break was exhilarating and exciting. I loved my job though – even back then when I was a secretary at one of the big banks downtown. At that time I had over 25 'bosses' and supervisors that I did typing and tasks for and I always enjoyed the variety of my job. I never sat idle and the days sped by even back then. If I had the occasional bad day, I knew that before long it would be over and I would be able to start fresh the next morning and had a new chance to make a good one. I wasn't even 20 back then but even at that time in my life I had that positive attitude. I am glad it stuck with me.
I didn't make any formal 'resolutions' for the new year. I didn't feel it was necessary. It seems to me that I make resolutions every new day and I live my life trying to do my best.
I can't help but feel excited by the new year though. Even though it is just another flip of the calendar page, I feel that there is a bit of significance in it for many and represents a fresh, new start. But I feel that about every new day.
The way I look at it, not only are we given a new opportunity to start fresh on New Year's Day, but we are given that EVERY day. No matter how badly a day ends, usually after we get a night's rest, when the sun comes up in the morning, things don't seem so bad. I know it may sound corny, but I awake every day with excitement and I look forward to what each day brings. For I truly believe that each day is what we, ourselves make it to a great extent. We have the choice to make it good – even if bad things happen to us – and the choice to be happy. Believe it or not, most of the time it works out that way for me. I find that focusing on the positive things that are given to me in this world give little time for me to be unhappy or troubled. It doesn't mean that things don't bother me from time to time, but it reminds me to appreciate the good things and make the best of what is sent my way. It saves me a lot of misery.
I spent the day working on more mask designs yesterday. Keith was out for most of the day and I had the house to myself to do as I please. I have been excited about painting these masks, and I am really enjoying seeing them come to life. I had shown the first set of six (SLDP130 Romantic Masquerade – Pretty in Pink) the other day:
I loved their soft and romantic coloring!
The second set of masks that I am designing for a pattern packet is SLDP231 Romantic Masquerade – Red Passion:
This time I used deep, rich red tones with striking contrasts. Every one of them is shimmery and I am very pleased with how they look.
They almost look like cloisonne or sugared candy!
I only got five of the six "reds" completed, and I will be finishing up the sixth design today. I then will be working to make them into pattern packets and get them up onto the site. I want them ready with plenty of time for Valentine's day.
So far I am enjoying this new year a great deal. But then – that is no surprise to me. I will embrace the snowy days just as I embrace the sunny ones, for complaining about either would just be a waste of my time and energy.
I look forward to what the year ahead has in store for me. I believe it will for the most part be good because I plan to take an active part in making it that way. While I can't change the world, one thing I can change is my own behavior and how I react to what the world gives to me, and I am going to try my hardest to make it the best year yet.
I don't really need a "new year" to do that. Or even a Monday. Sometimes just letting things be and laying my head on the pillow in the evening and awakening in the morning brings with it an entire new perspective. In that sense, EVERY day can be a new beginning. And EVERY day can be wonderful.
Happy New Year to you all!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"