January Contemplations


Every January, on my personal Facebook page, I change my header image to something that looks like this one. In fact, this is the current one. When I posted it, I commented, "Sliding out of Christmas and through January. If you need me, I'll be here...reading and contemplating life."

Another year, it was this image.


Hubby queried, "Why are you using that picture? She looks dead."

I replied, "She's not dead. It's me. In January. Just resting."

He studied it again and pronounced, "She looks dead."

Sigh.

I feel like I run pretty much flat-out from February through December, with ever increasing speed as the year moves on. But January is my month. My birthday is in January. It snows. It's cold. After the busyness and indulgences of December, it's nice to quiet oneself and practice saying "no". But mostly, my body and soul crave the rest and restoration that happens by contemplating life for a whole, long, lingering month.

But January is rapidly coming to a close, and we're traveling (bam!) on February 1st. So tonight, during a long soak in the tub, I contemplated my contemplations. My mind has most been occupied with the following thoughts:

- last year's gratitude journal -
I kept a gratitude journal every single day of 2018.
It was an interesting exercise in being more cognizant of my blessings
and grateful to Him from whom they come.
It is intriguing to me that some of the things I was
most grateful for were predictable:
God
family
friends
health
And other things surprised me in how often they appeared...almost daily:
beauty
creativity
inspiration
the inspiration of strangers

- business changes - 
This has been at the forefront of all my thoughts this month.
Contemplating big, BIG changes.
Confronting all the questions: how, when, how soon, can I, am I brave enough?
Reading and studying and thinking yet more.
Gathering all my books and plan to spend the plane rides in active thought.

- Marie Kondo -
Quite frankly, I haven't even time to go there, because she lost me
at the 30 books bit. Slightly amused that this is a new craze, since it seems
to me that William Morris, back in the 19th century, said, 
"Have nothing in your homes that you do not know to be useful,
or believe to be beautiful." See. Nothing new under the sun.
It also seems to be embraced by people who haven't lived 
long enough to need to go buy again something they got rid of in a
fit of cleaning.
Not that we all can't declutter from time to time, BUT...30 books? Done.

- podcasts -
A little late to the game of discovering them, but better late than never.
Excellent company during lunch alone or while sewing.
I'm particularly enjoying those by Josephine Brooks on mentoring
and inspiring people with a side hustle.

- intention/intentional -
Those are certainly popular words these days.
But what DO they mean?
I'm starting to feel that they are used by people to validate a
complete lack of action,
so long as there was deep and meaningful thought.
Meanwhile, people who are actually intentional are out there
getting the job done.  

- and in no particular order -
dog training, theological bravery, moral courage, Virginia Woolf, epsom salts, gluten, vintage ski attire, winter sunsets, the future of history, gardening structure, how fascinating the expression of the human mind and how unique to each individual, British pubs, gold velvet ribbon, cheese fondue, color (always color!), small town connections, aging, the new season of Victoria, the Isle of Skye, the government shutdown, and ramen.

What about you? Do you find that January is a time to reflect? What's been on your mind this month?

6 comments:

  1. I loved your list! Many of my thoughts are listed. Life is much better with dogs even though it is messier. Epsom salts baths are the best. No need for fancy. Letting go of gluten was a big thing in my life. I went on a health journey a few years ago and food selection has made all the difference with my autoimmune conditions. I am off of some serious medicine by making those choices.
    I didn't always love January. While teaching I kind of viewed it as the month we couldn't get outside. We are wimps in Florida. AND the month of just heavy duty teaching. I am retired now and just like you I view it as the month to just rejuvenate myself. It is perhaps one of my favorite months now.
    I am not into Maria Kondo for the same reasons you said. I can't believe it is all the rage. I like a simple life and am adding very little to it these days, but I love my books and don't want to get rid of everything.
    Enjoyable post and I have done a reflecting lately too.

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  2. The month you couldn't get outside?!?! Oh my. Actually, Florida is where we're headed later this week, and I must confess to already feeling sad to have to put aside my wool sweaters and pack summer clothes. I'm sure everyone will think that's weird, but oh well. I, literally, cannot wrap my head around the summer clothes idea. How can that even be? (It's 17 degrees here right now.)

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    1. Kate, our school district won't let the kids go outside below 40 degrees. The kids don't wear appropriate clothing to school, so no PE class or recess. I hated that. It will not hurt children to let them run off steam. That is what I meant by not being able to get outside:)

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    2. Wow! Forty degrees! That's practically shorts weather here! ;-)

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  3. Oh, boy. I have needed this. Thank you Kate for your frank discussion of January as a month and a condition. I shall no longer fight my January retreats to the couch (if only I had a fine gown for my moments there), lethargy at times, list of good intentions pushed aside day after day. From now on, January shall be my retreat, a spa-like month for prescribed repair, a reward for good works, a time to reset the course forward while respecting noble efforts of the past. 2019 has taken on a new vibe now that I know I have a JANUARY waiting for me upon its conclusion.
    Enjoy a lovely trip south.

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    Replies
    1. Ooo...I like that description "...a spa-like month...". Quite fitting. And even more restorative that any spa to which I've been. Relax and savor the last two days!

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