Monday, January 05, 2009

Reflections on 2008: Gratitude

I always find that this time of year finds me in a reflective mood. Often year's end leaves me a little down. All that potential that the year held and yet... and yet...

But the end of 2008 was somewhat different. For me there were three major events planned, and I managed to pull them all off! They were of course, my first exhibition outside Brisbane (in Melbourne in February) my first trip overseas in more than 20 years and finally, completing my MFA.

Through all this my CFS has been my constant companion (!) and it's a wily one, requiring thoughtful and at times personally-challenging management. Although I can't say I have always succeeded in minimizing its effects, by really testing myself on all levels I have learned quite a bit more about the areas that are my weaknesses and likely to cause me problems. I have noted that my ways of managing stress and difficult emotions aren't always working for me, and I am closer to working out some complicated dietary issues too.

Overall, as I look back on the year that has passed, my overwhelming sense is of gratitude. As I toured around favourite blogs, catching up on posts written over the past month or so, there have been many expressions of thanksgiving. Bloggers from the US tend especially to get into this, starting of course with their Thanksgiving celebrations. It seems that in America, this holiday creates a culture more at ease with expressions of appreciation. Some bloggers even write about a having a daily practice of gratitude. I appreciate the intention behind this, although personally I find instituting that kind of routine actually leaves me a little emotionally numb. Other Australians of British descent may understand. Or maybe might just be me!

Nevertheless, as we move into the new year, I feel moved to look back, and share some of the things from 2008 for which I am thankful . So, in no particular order:

  • a Christmas that passed all expectations
  • having my mother to share another year with
  • my lovely husband
  • air-conditioning
  • a cuddly puss who has survived to share another Christmas despite his heart condition
  • our cat's cardiologist
  • the cool breeze that flows through our patio
  • the most generous and caring mother-in-law you could wish for
  • meeting family members in Belfast
  • seeing Jomon (Japanese prehistoric) pottery in Tokyo
  • spending time with my husband in his country of birth
  • being accepted to exhibit in Melbourne
  • visiting Paris
  • a day spent in Tokyo, revelling in the cultural differences and physical beauty
  • my health holding out till I finished my masters
  • my doctor
  • all I learned about art and myself by doing my masters
  • having found warm, caring and fun friends who accept me for who I am
  • my online chums who give me so much support
  • having friends who I can "talk art" with
  • online shopping and small shop owners, so I don't have to go to big shopping centres/"malls" too often


  1. 2008 was quite a year for you, so many amazing achievements, congratulations on all of them.

    Happy New Year Amanda, may 2009 bring you all that you dream of in every aspect of your life.
    If '08 is anything to go by you'll have an outstanding year!


  2. Congratulations Amanda, on a year of wonderful achievements. Your posts are always thoughtful and give an insight into your art that I find very refreshing.

  3. You've done amazingly well in 2008, I'm so pleased for you. Following heart and mind in your art practice, finishing a degree and even travelling to another continent - wow. Giving thanks is important, I try to do it before I go to sleep, reviewing my day, reminding myself of its good bits, no matter how tiny. There are usually quite a few, even if it's been a bad day. All the best for 2009!

  4. Oh Amanda I'm in the same 'cat situation'. Mine has cardiomyopathy and was given 6 months to live nearly 3 years ago. We pop pills 3 times a day & he is absolutely fine. I'm stuck at home at the moment because they say stress will kill him and he doesn't like boarding. I am so lucky still to have him.