An honest look at 2018

This year, closing out today, has been what I would used to call, “Meh.” There were some ups, some downs, and then the mostly flats.

To the year’s credit, I did have more time on stage; rejoined the nonprofit world; made considerable effort towards getting out of debt (given the state of my student loans, that didn’t look like much – but I made progress nonetheless); worked on relationships with family, friends, and other loved ones; decluttered; and started new endeavors.

On the other side of the ledger, there was an overwhelming feeling of not accomplishing enough. Many of the new endeavors sat unfinished, or abandoned. Some money-making ideas didn’t pan out as hoped, and were laid to the side. A few of my writing projects got pushed to the back burner, and nothing got even close to completion this year.

Som highlights:

  • With my subscription to Movie Pass in 2016, I saw numerous films throughout the year. After changes to its subscription model prevented me from buying several tickets, it was time to cancel though, and I’ve reduced the number of films I see so that I wasn’t spending so much on tickets.
  • I started the year working in telecommunications, and studying basic electric circuit design. I’m ending the year with a primary focus in fundraising and development.
  • In April I purchased my new car, a Toyota RAV4 Adventure Series. There was a notion to buy a small camper, and do some traveling, living and working from wherever I ended up. I haven’t gotten that far yet. To date, I haven’t even had a tow hitch installed.
  • A few shows under my belt – Evita, Oklahoma, and Little Women. I’m enjoying the character work that I’ve been getting, and would like to try my hand on camera again. It’s been many years since doing television work in Ft. Lauderdale.
  • During November my girlfriend and I did make the trip to Costa Rica. This was a quick jaunt, and I would have loved to have seen more. In the summer of 2019 we’ll be heading to Alaska for ten days, so I’m excited for that as well.
  • The remainder of the year was just so-so. Nothing dramatic, nothing earth-shattering (all this being on the personal front). Just a development year. It’s 2019 that promises change. As I said, my focus words for 2019 are Success and Harmony. There are no limits to what those mean, and as the Universe receives my intention, I know it’ll bring it back to me in the auspicious, Universal way.

So, fare thee well 2018. Greetings to a prosperous and healthy 2019.

Happy New Year!

Fah-who For-aze

Welcome Christmas, come this way…

Christmas, oh Christmas.

A cold and desolate season welcomes you
to bring light, cheer, warmth and hope.

The Christmas-season is a belief,
more than it is a holiday.
More than the celebration of the messiah,
or the de facto creation of a religion.

Christmas is the embodiment of all love,
and charity becoming manifest.
That the most can provide for the least
to express nothing more than care.

There can be giving without gain,
Hope without loss,
Peace without harm,
And love without the expectation of reward.

When the Christians appropriated the
customs around the Winter Solstice,
they honored the themes of light;
of fire, charity and feasting.

Bringing about the new days,
each with longer hours of sun.
“The old has passed away.
Behold, the new has come!”

So Christmas, today and all days,
Fill us with the passion to remember love.
To remember charity,
and to provide for those less fortunate.

It isn’t in celebrating a day,
the 25th of December,
but celebrating the season
throughout the whole year that is Christmas.

I’m 35… Now what?

For starters, here’s the chestnut from back in May: “By 35, you should have twice your salary saved, according to retirement experts”

Huh… Click the link to read all the Twitter responses. I don’t even know what to say to that.

What I do know is that, no, I don’t have twice my annual salary saved. As a matter of fact, I’ve actually cashed out two retirement accounts in the last ten years. One was to help pay for my M.A., the other to fund my first international travel excursion. (And marriage, but that’s a whole different saga…)

I am rebuilding my retirement accounts, utilizing Acorns and Stash. Is it a lot? No. But do I set aside money each month for my future? Yes. And that’s an important distinction.

There are many issues with growing up, being an adult, and living life nowadays. I’m not saying that there haven’t always been challenges. I know there has been. Parents having to walk up hill, both ways, in the snow to get to school.

But seriously, we now have more access to just about everything. Health care, fresh produce, jobs, instructional videos, housing, distant friends and family, etc. We gave up degrees of privacy, downtime, upward mobility, living within our means, and community.

Being 35 in 2018 is almost science-fiction compared to being 35 in 1918. Imagine what a 35 year-old in 2118 will experience!

So I’m left with the question – what will I do? What will I do with the next 35 years of my life? What will I become? What do any of us do with the time we have?

“There is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost.”

– Martha Graham

Ending 2018

To close out 2015, I had been listening to Inside Acting, a podcast out of LA. Their end-of-year episode did a year-in-review, and they gave focus words for 2016. I decided that I would do that as well.

For 2016 my focus words were distance and serenity.

Honestly I was met with mixed success. In Feb. 2016 my engagement ended. I did put distance between me and “here”, and spent a month wandering around the UK and Ireland. I returned, and spiraled into what I wrote about, my Dark Night of the Soul. I don’t know that I’ve fully comprehended the enormity of that period in my life. I feel that maybe serenity would/could have arisen out of it.

However, I left my job, moved, and started carving out new places in for me to live my life.

For 2017, I did not wish for any words to transform my life. Nor for 2018.

Now, though, I realize that it’s time to change how I’m doing things. How I’m living life. When I put distance and serenity out into the Universe, the Universe answered. Frighteningly so.

So, mere days away from my 35th birthday, and preparing to ring in 2019, I’m prepared to ask of the Universe another change of pace.

My two words, which will be my focus and energy for 2019, are:

  1. Success
  2. Harmony

Asking for these things, I put no expectation of result. I certainly wouldn’t have anticipated the ways in which my words for 2016 were received or acknowledged. However this coming year plays out, I trust in the results and will remain focused on living my life in the now.

 

Back online

Went down to Central America, and the second day had computer problems. Blessing in disguise? Probably. Mostly I stayed offline and incommunicado for the duration.

IMG_1430.JPG

Spent time down in Jaco, on the Pacific coast. The large surf community of Southern Costa Rica has a relaxed vibe. Great little town, with lots of cool little restaurants and shops. Had a vegan burger and fries at Maraja. The Argentinian spot had this as a daily special. But, there were plenty of vegetarian options (I’ve been meat free for two years now).

IMG_1566

Also up in Monteverde, to visit the cloud forest. The bus ride from San Jose up the mountains took nearly five hours. However, I think the ride was certainly worth it – the weather up there was beautiful.

Trekking through the forest, we saw animals such as the quetzel, sloth, aguti, and howler monkeys.

IMG_1627

Now being home, I was able to get my computer back up and running. Heading into December I’ve got fundraising and grant writing to finish. So I’ve hit the ground running!