The word “prodigal” is easily misused. We’ve so often heard the parable of “The Prodigal Son” that we have come to think it means returning after a long and possibly ill-planned absence when in fact, it has nothing to do with absence. It is about lavish and wasteful spending. (True story. Read the definition, and reread the parable. You’ll come to see it in a new light if you’ve never understood the meaning previously. Not that the actual text uses the word prodigal, but we attach it so often, it’s almost become canon. Anyhow…)
I figure I’m going to twist words just a little more in applying it to myself. Yes, I am in fact returning, so in that sense, I am using the common non-definition. But also, I am currently overflowing with hopefulness. It’s a good way to start the new year, no? Very shortly, I’m going to be quite prodigal in my resolutions– a tradition I’ve always considered rather silly, but one that just feels right in my current mood. But first, a bit of back-story.
The last few weeks have been a bit rough– not necessarily dismal, but just stressful. On one hand, there’s the typical holiday crunch. On the other, I was pet sitting and thus driving between work, home, and the other house every 4 to 5 hours, living in two places at once. On top of that, I was experiencing more car trouble, borrowing my boyfriend’s car (which thankfully he’d left here while out-of-town), and then finally giving up entirely and purchasing a new car– so then there was the stress of car switching, as well as finances. And the end of the week culminated with plans changing umpteen times and not enough sleep. I was truly ready to skip celebrating and fall asleep early on New Years, which is saying something because I’m NEVER asleep before midnight. However, I’d promised to go to a friend’s party, so off I went.
I knew a few people, and of course, I was my usual wallflower self — which I really do enjoy, I might add. I feel I make a rather pretty wallflower. Or… something. But watching our small crowd dancing like fools and enjoying themselves, chatting with new and old friends when they were too tired to dance, helping with cooking, listening to the babble and chatter– it was an aura of infectious exuberance. By the end of the night, I’d even been dragged into dancing a little, albeit after things had calmed some.
We spent the first day of the year in such a comfortable fellowship, enjoying a late breakfast and chatting with slug-a-beds ensconced in blankets, and walking to the park where we all sprawled in a circle in the grass laughing and listening to children laugh. At the end we even hopped a low fence and picked our way from rock to rock in a verdant gully of watercress and mud (in which I nearly lost my shoe when I chose a particularly deceiving bit of ground which swallowed my foot and ankle.) We laughed and explored and I was glorious with my girly ballet flats mud plastered and sprouting crushed bits of green.
In our last hour before leaving, we contemplated the approaching year. At first, I didn’t think much of it, but there really is a lot to come. I think it is a year of changes. For one thing, I have just purchased a car. That’s a major financial decision, which is going to change many things. But with that added stress, I will also have added security and even a few luxuries. Also, Koby is graduating in April, and his choices and career paths will affect mine. It’s possible I could move out and get a full-time job. And maybe, now that he’s so close to graduation, there is more to hope for. Maybe. It could be a big year.
And thus, with so much exuberance (I couldn’t help but be caught up in it) and so many hopes, I feel I can afford to be a bit prodigal in my resolutions. Even if in the back of my head, I’m hearing Lumiere suggesting “Promises you don’t intend to keep,” I am shushing that voice. At this moment, I have every intention of fulfilling them. The rational part of my brain can occupy itself with finances while I take a moment to scrawl a few bold promises.
- One blog post a week (Wednesdays perhaps?) even if some of them are about past artistic activities I never managed to chronicle. I intend to make use of the scheduled publishing feature and time travel a bit.
- More regular art– whether mixed media, jewelry, sewing, or writing. I need something to post about, don’t I? The challenge is this is I hope to settle on a weekly quota of time or else finished pieces. The specifics still require thought.
- Related to that is that I want to limit my spending on art materials by only using materials I already have. I have a few exceptions– refilling or replenishing something exhaustible (glue?), procuring small item needed for a particular project (thread?), and indulging in the 7 Gypsies’ Binderie Punch I’ve been waiting to come back into stock so I can finish a certain project. But in general, no new supplies! I have enough projects waiting to be finished, or worse, started.
- A corollary of the above– watch my spending in general. I have more financial responsibilities to think of, and I should have been saving more all along anyhow. Less eating out, less art supplies, more use of the library.
- Exercise on the treadmill or Wii fit at least 2 hours a week. It might be a trick of the eye, but I’m feeling a bit curvier in the wrong places. Someday those wrong places need to go in a fancy white dress. I’d rather they look photo-worthy when that time comes.
- Maintain better contact with people. This means gathering addresses, writing letters, making phone calls, smoke signals and what-have-you.
- Keep a written journal. While I am not going to hold myself to daily writings, I’m hoping I can train myself to write in one most days. It would likely jumpstart my creativity, and if nothing else, provide fodder for art journal pages.
- Read more books from my ever-growing list of to-read and to-read-again. A few include the rest of the Wheel of Time series, a whole slew of other fantasy, Jane Eyre, Northanger Abbey, Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, Lord of the Rings, and a host of old favorites I’m itching to reread.
- Find a third job for now (Starbucks maybe?) and look into a full-time job.
Overly ambitious much? Just a smidge. But as I said, I was feeling prodigal.