Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Objects In Mirror Revisited

© Punkin Dunkin Productions

Last year, I had the intention of blogging my New Year’s resolutions. I drafted a list and by the time I was done, it was a mile long. I was too hard on myself, as usual, and the thought of having to attempt all of the million things I wanted to accomplish got me rather down. There were simply too many tasks to perform and behaviors to modify in my life. I was completely overwhelmed and I ended up shelving the post.

A week later, I looked through my archives and it dawned on me how easy it was to observe all of the things that I’d already accomplished that year. I’d really done a whole hell of a lot more than I realized. I discovered photography, I made it through my first year of college at a major public university, I lost more than half the weight I wanted to, I discovered the true amount of love and admiration that I held for my parents. I made up a list and instantly, I felt better. That inventory, along with a metaphorical picture and title, became the post that I listed a year ago.

I’ve decided to continue the tradition of reflecting on this year’s accomplishments. And let me tell you that it’s still a far more rewarding exercise to carry out than having to list all of the things I have yet to do in the coming year. It does wonders for the soul to list all of the good things that have already happened, to catalog each nugget of wisdom gained and special memory that occured, and to store them in a place that I can always visit. Seeing that post last year helped me to reflect on all of the changes I made and that were made to me in the last twelve months. I am reminded that I ended my post last year by declaring that it had been the best year I had in 7 years. Just between you and me, here’s where I admit that 2005 blew 2004 out of the ball park.

It feels like a thousand lifetimes that I’ve past through in just 365 days. So much has happened. So much has changed. I’ve been altered and morphed into an entirely different person. The contrast of last year’s Angela to the Angela of this year is simply staggering. I couldn’t be happier or more self-aware and reflective on where I am in my life at this moment. And all I have is an enormous amount of hope for the future that I face. What follows is a list of some of the most significant things that transpired this year but I have to admit that I found it hard to quantify, to express in words all that has happened in just twelve months.

In five hundred,
twenty five thousand,
six hundred minutes,
How do you measure
a year in the life?


Today, there are three kinds of people: the have's, the have-not's, and the have-not-paid-for-what-they-have's. ~Earl Wilson
I’m not out of debt. In fact with three more school quarters under my belt, my school loans have doubled. However, this year I’ve faithfully worked to pay my bills each month. It’s not easy and I don’t always succeed (sometimes not without help from my loving and very understanding parents). But I’m proud to say that at least my car loan is almost paid off. And I am the only one of my friends to have bought my very first car and to have paid for it by myself. This is something to be proud of.


My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people. ~Orson Welles

I didn’t lose any more weight this year. From October last year to May this year, I gained more than 20 pounds back of what I lost. I spent all summer working it off again. But the amazing thing that happened to me this year was that I began gaining strength and energy from exercise. In June and July, I began walking along the riverfront each day. Most days I walked five miles. A few days I walked ten. When I participated in Relay For Life in July, I jogged around the track a couple of times without stopping. Late this fall, I found out that I could jog just as well as I could walk. Before I had lost the 63 pounds, I couldn’t jog more than a quarter mile. Two weeks ago I jogged two miles around the neighborhood. I’m considering participating in the Butte to Butte as a walker next July. It’s a measly 4.5 miles between Spencer and Skinner Buttes. Huh. Me joining a marathon. That’s something I never thought would happen.


I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. ~Joe Mullally
I didn’t find God or Jesus or even Buddha this year. However, what I did find was a more acceptable level of tolerance for certain people who are spiritual. And that’s surprising to me. I’ve spent the last several years being very angry with religion and the people who claim they are spiritual and happy in the world with their God and they supposedly love everyone but really have no tolerance for any other view than the one that matches their own. I generalized them, talked down to them, questioned their intelligence, and made it a point to avoid them whenever possible. At some point this year, I began to soften up. I made friends people that are teaching me about their religion by using tolerance, love and compassion when they discuss their views with me. Through them, I can see how religion has the potential to enhance a life rather than hinder it. This makes me hopeful for the future. I may never move beyond being an agnostic/borderline atheist but I have much respect for those people in my life for which religion is a positive guiding force.

Knit on with confidence and hope through all crises. ~Elizabeth Zimmerman
In January, I taught myself how to knit. I haven’t progressed beyond squares and rectangles, but I have made some very nice gifts for people. This Christmas, I decided to make presents for almost everyone on my list since I’ve been hoarding yarn and old sweaters to be ripped up for their yarn. I must say that I enjoy the craft quite a bit. It has some surprising meditative qualities to it. It kept me sane during the first half of the year when nothing else was doing it for me.


Procrastination is like masturbation. At first it feels good, but in the end you're only screwing yourself. ~Author Unknown
This is the stickiest issue for me at the moment. I haven’t made a whole lot of headway in solving my habit of putting things off until the very last minute (and sometimes even beyond that point). In fact most days it feels as if I’m sliding backwards. I'm totally distracted and concentration impaired almost every minute of the day. I can't read a book or watch a movie for more than 20 minutes before one of my eyeballs starts to wander to either side of the room. I can be watching the most engrossing drama on TV and suddenly an intriguing piece of cat hair on the sofa, or the fact that the cushions need mending, or a sudden impulse to go buy a new toothbrush will pull my attention away. As you can imagine, it's having a severely damaging impact on my academics. Simply put, this quarters grades are in the toilet.

I've begun the process of obtaining professional help for my constant mental interruptions. Recently, I had a session with a psychologist and I got a sort of diagnosis:

Adjustment Disorder of an Unspecified Subtype

So what does that mean, exactly? Basically it means that my symptoms of procrastination, distraction, a few physical complaints such as headaches and general uneasiness, with minimal depression and anxiety are all related to the fact that I don't adjust well to changes in my life.

You don’t say?

Considering the plethora of changes that have occurred this year, I’d say that diagnosis is pretty damn accurate. I’m coming to terms with the fact that it’s going to have to be enough at the moment to just understand my problem before I attempt to change it.


What is art but a way of seeing? ~Thomas Berger
I’ve struggled with calling myself a photographer this year. However, everyone else around me seems to have no trouble attaching that label to my name. In one year, to many people, I have become the artist, the photographer, the talented person. There is power behind such labels. It allows someone to grow in new directions and become the person they’ve always wanted to be.

Sometimes we can only define ourselves through the definitions that others have of us.


The heart has its reasons which reason knows not of. ~ Pascal
This summer, it seemed as if every sunset contained a thousand colors that caught my heart in my throat and made my soul resonate with unheard hymns. I saw the world through a different lens and everything was seemingly brand new and sparkling. Of course, falling in love tends to cloud the brain
just a bit.

For those of you who have been keeping track of my blog, you know that this development has kept me relatively busy the last half of the year. It all started
here and what blossomed through a ton of emails during the summer caught me completely off guard. At some point in late July I woke up one morning and it dawned on me that I couldn’t imagine not knowing this person whom, up to that point, I hadn’t even met. My life has been divided essentially into life before him and life after him. It’s funny how much everything changes when a total stranger at the beginning of the year becomes such an integral part of my world by the end of the year. He told me last night he was excited to have discovered me in this world. And I want to tell him that I feel exactly the same way.

But the best part is that it’s not just him. In just a few short months, an entire family has come to mean the absolute world to me. Oh, I am so incredibly blessed.

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~Anais Nin

(I didn't photograph the tattoo picture... but I would sure love to focus on art captured on the human body in my pictures! Anyone want to be my model?)

Through several conversations with loved ones this year, the concept of the rising phoenix was mentioned time and time again in regards to my life and it has become a highly appropriate metaphor. I feel as though I’ve hatched out from the restrictive body and mind that has held me prisoner for so long. I most certainly do feel like a phoenix, with newly discovered wings, feathers ruffling in the light breeze, getting ready to effortless soar out over the world. I am coming into my own here and it feels so damn good.

Everything I have touched on in this post is an aspect of my life that has been in a state of change for some time. Some of these changes began more than a year ago; some are only a recent development. But all of these alterations to my life have turned me into a vastly different person from whom I used to be. Five years ago, I was a deeply unhappy person who was just going through the motions of a life unwanted. Three years ago, I made some radical changes to my environment in a desperate attempt to alter the course of my life. Today, I am reaping the benefits from those changes- with added interest.

It's a wonderful time for me and I'm happy to be here to share this life with you all.


Blogger Tudeski said...

I am very glad that you are such a good friend in my life too.

5:35 PM  

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