Archive for January, 2010

My father’s gifts

Posted in Gratitude on January 1, 2010 by cgeary

Hello World —

I wrote extensively last week about my father’s death, but I also wanted to share some thoughts about my relationship with him as a way of honoring his life.

I woke up very early the morning of his funeral thinking about him as the person I had known growing up and I started thinking about who I was because of his presence in my life and this list emerged.

These are some of the things my father gave me —

  • a slow temper (this is probably as much nature as nurture — regardless, it has served me well)
  • an appreciation of multiple points of view
  • the ability to adapt to a new situation or environment
  • a sense of humor — an appreciation of a good joke…even puns (his favorite!)
  • blue eyes (but not as blue as his)
  • an appreciation of cause and effect — especially the effect of my actions on the lives of others
  • a love of travel and curiosity about the world
  • a sense of security
  • a logical way of thinking about how to do things and an appreciation of efficiency
  • a value for “getting the job done”
  • self-discipline and tolerance of moderate discomfort in the service of getting what you need
  • a role model for providing for my family and
  • an interest in photography as a way of documenting one’s life and family.

Cindy and Rudy in Waynesville...late 1990s

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Beginning again

Posted in Gratitude on January 1, 2010 by cgeary

Hello World

Even when I’m not intensively keeping a journal, I always like to take stock on January 1….to look at what has happened during the past year and think about what I’m thankful for and where I want to go in the next year.

I made a major life transition this year by changing jobs. This time last year I had thought about the possibility but had no inkling of how I might make it happen or that it would happen within the year. The change I made was not totally radical but I moved out of management and a rat race back to technical and what I perceive to be a better use of my talents and time and to be more focused in a way that will give me the feeling that I am actually contributing to a better world. This change is still new enough that I haven’t completely transitioned into what I am going to…that will take a bit of time. I do know though that I made the right decision.

My father’s recent death is also a transition of sorts for me as well. First, of course, I will miss his presence.  It also changes my responsibilities toward and interactions with my mother. It makes me think about preparing for the future differently. In following up on his financial affairs, I have new appreciation for how my father planned for the future and for taking care of my mother.

I’m not sure where I want to go artistically. I have a number of pieces still in progress…and lots of things call me. I had begun scanning family photographs for an album to share with my family members. We used many of those photos (as well as some my son scanned) to put together a slide show of my father’s life for the viewing at the funeral home. It was good to see pictures of my father in healthier times and I can share the DVD with many people who were not able to be at the funeral. I want to finish the rest of the family photos this winter and complete the album (though it will always be a work in progress in order to add more into).

My new job came with a membership to a gym, so I have decided to commit myself to getting into shape this year in a serious way. The past few years I have run and done yoga on a fairly routine basis but it has not been enough. I had a complementary training session with someone at the gym and it opened my eyes to what I need to work on…focusing on getting stronger and improving my flexibility and balance. I signed up for 12 sessions — have done 2 so far — and can tell a difference already.

So what am I grateful for from the past year? Transitions and beginnings…the grace of things working out in ways that we wouldn’t have planned ourselves…two grown children who are working towards vocations that will use their prodigious artistic talents…and who have relationships which make them happy…a solid relationship of my own…my friendship with my brother…my own good health…my mother being in a place where she feels secure and at home and taken care of…my friends and coworkers…especially for their support these past few weeks…my new suzuki crossover…red wine…belgian-style beer…travel this past year to Italy, Ireland, Egypt and Zambia and the anticipation of travel in this new year…skype (!) for saving me so much in phone bills this year…HBO (I finally got it) and watching The Wire from beginning to end…my Wintergarden exhibit at the library…a new printer and a new camera and the discovery of an old camera and a place to buy film for it…places that continue to develop film…

There are many, many things to be grateful for and sometimes life passes by so quickly that I don’t feel that I have time to fully appreciate them. So that is my hope for the new year…that I can slow things down enough to appreciate everything more. It is a tricky wish, however…. tricky figuring out which things to slow down. It is living these tensions though that makes life what it is.

Best Wishes for the New Year!