For me, true life change is always a cold dive from radical heights, never any soft slides into the lukewarm wading pool of transition. Struck over the head with absolute misery, I am forced to concede inside a prison of my own making, while angels of opportunity do their best to get my attention by waving the keys to my freedom.
What was it this time? Well, I was felled for a month by the worst illness of my life, a stunning combination of hideous head cold, a clutch of bronchitis and then the wicked flu. I never get the flu.
For weeks I wallowed on a rumpled sick bed, watching lives flash before my eyes in between horrendous bouts of coughing, fever and nose blowing. Family came and went, an entire season of holiday celebrations carried on without me, and then the world went back to work in 2013 while I still lingered on the fringes, transparent as Marley’s ghost.
During convalescence, I had plenty of time to review my sins. This kind of plague was clearly a message sent to knock some sense into me. And while 2012 would be considered a productive year, I had somehow run off course in a big way. Over the months, I took an easy path back to old roles, enjoying the quick hit of rescuer, and the heady attention of being needed.
Somehow, I always forget what this costs me.
I looked to others for fresh paths, and found only shoes that didn’t fit. I took a ride back to the past and saw the future. And I didn’t like it much.
If I’d been paying attention along the way, the spirits of tense would have shown me where my first salvation lies. It has been there all along, but I only reach for this life preserver when all other help is refused.
On my knees, with the specter of a life un-lived roughly sketched out in front of me, I’ve finally grasped that first key of opportunity. I admit to being stingy with creativity and a scrooge to my dreams. I confess to throwing myself at the status quo and camouflaging in a cloak of conformity. I let the fear of freedom win.
So, my word for 2013 is CREATE. My fevered walks with what could be have opened many doors to studio, desk, easel, lens, blank page, and the world. And as I renew my vows to this life, I will practice it all without a mind to results, recognition or an ending.
Only the beginning.