Monday, December 27, 2010

annual year-end cautious optimism, part one

The above photo is of a shelf in my home office with special mementos. Among them is a Japanese hagoita paddle with the image of a geisha, in semi-three dimensions, designed in the traditional manner using padded fabric on wood. Hagoita paddles were originally created as equipment for the playing of a game, but are now created largely as beautifully-made icons honoring each new year in Japan. More about this in an upcoming post. / b

The Japanese have a tradition of wanting to conclude the pressing concerns of a given year before moving into the new one... finish all outstanding projects (with the exception of very long-term ones, of course), get one's affairs in order, look ahead to the implementation of certain improvements, and greet the first fresh day of January with a clean slate and a strong plan.

This is an idea I can relate to... my annual goal to achieve this satisfying state, however, has met with unevenly success. Still, I'm happy to report that my 2010 household was far more organized than last year (not that it was ever horrible, mind you), nearly all but my most long-term projects are finished, and my plans are more or less in place for the upcoming year. Even my laundry is done-- no small feat, but for the last few months I've been trying to do a load every day or two to keep things sane. Some of my friends may not realize just how compelling-- yet elusive-- household Nirvana is to people like me. An ongoing quest.

Why is this so important? The smoother I can run my life from day to day, the more I accomplish of a higher nature. Planning, efficiency, and logistics are terribly important if if I'm not to end up spending too many hours each week as a cook and housekeeper. A writer writes, as the saying goes, but only if there continue to be meals on the table.

There's also another reason I seek this pristeen state, a potent personal combination of psychological and aesthetic urges (I've explored this in previous posts). For whatever oddball reasons, I love to have all my petty tasks swept away, and have beauty and order in place all around me as I get to work on what truly matters.

* * *

Ah, yes... my annual year end cautious optimism! To my credit, again, I was far more efficient in my time management this year than I was last year, and I was able to get a lot of personal work accomplished.

As an aside, it may not be politically correct to say this out loud, but I dream of having the means to pass off the bulk of the housework to professionals. Until then, the trick is to have as nicely-run household as possible while not getting stuck in Martha S. mode while my writing and design projects suffer from neglect.

My other goals for the year are more personal and in some cases, abstract. But I know what they are.

January 1 is coming fast. I may not have everything concluded in the Japanese manner, but perhaps the Japanese don't achieve it fully, either. At least I'm close. The new year on the horizon will never unfold with the seamless elegance I now envision, but I vow to do my best.


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