This post was originally published 28 Dec 2010.
A feeling of renewal always comes calling at this time of year. The new year is looming, an old year almost gone and life is telling me to look around, take it all in, reassess, look toward the coming months and make sure that what we're doing will continue to make us happy and satisfied. I have been doing that reassessment over these past few days away from the blog. I've spent time with my family, talked on the phone with friends, thought about life during the small hours of the morning, and relaxed while looking out the window at the rain. It's been raining for a week, it's still falling now. I picked our garlic crop in the rain at 5.30 this morning. What a crazy and wonderful way to really experience this season and all its wild weather.
In a sense I'm living my dream life right now but if I were to believe many of those women's magazines, I should be yearning for my long gone youth, dying my hair, thinking about botox and clearing out last year's fashions to make way for newer versions. There is much more depth to my life. I am surrounded by a loving family, I have a major creative project to concentrate on, and the freedom to do whatever I feel like doing when each new day dawns. And even though I have that freedom, I choose to remain here, working in my home. From the outside it's just Hanno and Rhonda, two golden oldies, living a very ordinary life in semi-rural Australia; but our lives deceive, we live large. We have the freedom to choose how we spend our time - there is no boss expecting us to turn up for work, no watches telling us we have to be somewhere soon and no other controlling factors we need to be aware of. We have no debt and live frugally so we know that if we remain productive and live within our means, we'll continue along this path and feel the satisfaction and contentment it brings for a long time.
My main occupation at the moment, and for the coming months, is writing a book. After breakfast I come into this little room, close the door behind me, turn on the computer and start reading, editing and writing. Every so often, I check out the forum or emails, or I go out and wash up, make bread, prepare a meal, make the bed, knit or mend and those small actions, while giving me a break, make me feel I'm still contributing to my home. In reality though, Hanno is doing more that he used to and although he's not been gardening due to the season and the rain, he has been doing the washing and the floors, which frees me up to work on the book. Marriages that work well are fine things.
And what of happiness? Yes, it's here daily, bubbling away in the background, like a tea kettle on a wood stove, always ready and always enough to be shared. I don't know what it is I did to deserve this charmed life but I'm sure many of you feel the same way about your own lives. You are touchstones, in a sense, a way for me to know that even though we live outside the mainstream of our culture, there are others who walk along with us. And now as I look towards tomorrow and next year, I know that I will continue to work towards my goals with enthusiasm, optimism and gratitude and if I can take you all along with me for the ride, it will be even better.