I realize the irony in that I often say I'm not a fan of looking back, and then I repeatedly post these "year in review"stories. Well, I guess I'll say that I usually don't like to look back, but if there are events and lessons to be acknowledged then I'll indulge myself...for a short time at least. :)
So 2015 was, for me, the year of the Ps. If I could have told myself at the beginning what I would have needed to fortify myself for the year to come it would have been these words:
1. Patience. And a lot of it. Between the continued search for a medical diagnosis and the repeated difficulties with making the new CD, I clearly needed to learn patience. Even up until these past few weeks finishing up the graphics that would finally send the CD into actual production there were problems and delays almost every day. I'm not sure why the entire process was so challenging or why I needed to learn patience over and over again at this particular time, but I've lived long enough to know that it was all for a reason, and the next time I have to wait for something, or help loved ones wait for something, I will have armloads of patience to distribute freely. I will be able to trust that things will work out no matter how much I worry (or don't worry) about them, and I will be able to encourage others based on my experience.
2. Perseverance. A lot of that too. There were so many times over the past year when I was ready to give up on the CD. It was just getting to be too difficult - too many doors slammed in my face, too many people not being able to help me with what I needed, too much money being spent on fruitless tries, - it would have been so much easier at several points along the way to give up and move on to something else. But I kept pressing on, with my small group of supporters, and thankfully the glimmers of hope kept shining through the darkness of despair. A huge lesson learned, that I realize I can apply to anything worth pursuing in my life.
I kept being reminded of that line from the film "A League of Their Own." The baseball player says, "It just got too hard," to which the coach responds, "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. It's the hard that makes it great." Hear hear.
3. Persistence. Similar to perseverance, but with an additional, sharper edge to it. The definition of perseverance is: "Steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success." The definition of persistence is: "Firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition." While I usually would not consider myself to be obstinate, being headstrong and uncompromising when it comes to one's art is key, I think, to getting the eventual necessary result. Anyone can go through the motions and do what other people think they should do - that's definitely easier and doesn't make waves or cause trouble. But if it's going to have your name on it, it needs to be yours, and if you're already going through all of the trouble of doing it, do it the way that YOU want, that's true to YOUR artistic vision. I now believe there's a reason why my new CD is titled "Relentless."
4. Protection from Problematic, Perverse, Persnickety People. Yes, I'm having some fun with this, but the truth is, I wish someone could have warned me about the parade of nasty, mean, angry, sad, burdened, selfish, and disrespectful people I was going to encounter during the past year. Not that I could have prevented the situations, but I feel like somehow I could have protected myself against all of the insults and degradation. Actually, no, I take that back. The only way we learn is by going through things and I clearly needed to learn the lessons of not taking mean comments personally, recognizing that the malice and malignity has more to do with the other person and not with me, and most importantly, I do not need to keep these people in my life for one iota of a second longer than I need to. Thankfully the band season is over and I do not have to deal with those demeaning bullies any longer, both studio engineers who wanted to rewrite my music and lyrics immediately lost my business, and if a doctor or pharmacist is rude or insulting to me (both happened over this past year) I can, and will, take my business elsewhere.
(As an aside, I will never understand why people in customer service centered positions are rude to their customers. I suppose some patrons just take it and return for more, but especially in the age of Yelp and other internet review sites, I can't imagine it ends well for any of them.)
So, looking ahead, if last year was the year of the Ps, I'm thinking that this year will be a year of Hs:
Hope - for good things to happen.
Health - for myself and my loved ones.
Happiness - overflowing, overwhelming, in abundance, for everyone.
Hunger - I know I'm going to have some of this if I want to lose some lbs. for another H, Hawaii! (see #2 above)
Harmony, helpfulness, humor, hilarity, hospitality, hardihood (it's a word, I just learned it, and it's great - look it up) happy hearts, happy homes, and happy "hard" (see League of Their Own quote above) experiences for my family, my friends, myself, and for all people. If more people had these Hs prominently in their lives, above the other stuff, they wouldn't be those people in #4, who try to make the world around them as dismal as they routinely see it.
I'll let you know how it all goes. In the meantime, I'm wishing you all a happy, healthy, hopeful, prosperous, festive, fulfilling, blessed, peaceful, dynamic, exciting, fun, and dreams-come-true year ahead!