Happy New Year! It’s a new day, a new year and a new challenge. I’m committing to the Ultimate Blog Challenge of writing a post every day for the month of January. I’m not one for making New Year Resolutions but it’s not such a bad idea. Even if you fall off the Resolution wagon every year, you’ve made the effort to come back again and again. You have hope for a longer ride each year before falling off. It’s better than having no hope and no resolutions. What then?
My resolutions are the challenges of creating through words, art and photography that I find online. I’ve completed most of them except the 365somethings2018. I fell off its wagon maybe halfway. 2018 was a hard year, a long year. It felt good to surrender and say ‘uncle’. It was bigger than me. I had to ‘give up’, rest and gather up my strength again before climbing back on the wagon. My wheels were mired in immovable muck.
But here I am, sitting here, tapping, sipping my tea. I’m dressed in my ‘good clothes’, red sweater for prosperity. It’s not Chinese New Year, but it is a new year. I hope to tap up an abundance of Gong Hee Fat Choys (wishes for prosperity). Maybe they will come to be on February 5th, Chinese New Year. Wouldn’t that be cool?
It is cool on this western New Year’s morning. I’m warm and content, happy for no reason and for many reasons. When all my basic needs, food, shelter and clothing are met, the rest is like they say, is gravy. I have lots of gravy. I am retired with a good pension. No more early morning risings. No more night shifts. I have my health, family and a few good friends. I can count them on one hand. The Universe gives me enough. I am not able to handle much more than that. Sheba is the gift from my angels above. I get to celebrate the new year two times every year. I get second chances to get it right. I shall not make too many demands. I have enough.
Gong Hee Fat Choy! Happy Chinese New Year. I am bushed! I don’t know how I managed a job before retirement. I’m not wearing red. I didn’t clean house in preparation for the new year. I vacuumed today. Oops! Well, it’s not sweeping. I’m not sweeping out my good fortune. It’s hard to observe my cultural traditions living so apart from my people. Aside from family, I don’t know that many Chinese people. I have no Chinese friends. I’m lacking in so many ways, negating much of what I set out to do. We will have our family New Year supper on Sunday – a day of rest for those who work.
That’s how life is going for me – negotiating and changing. I’m not sure it it’s for the better or it is just different. That’s how the world is. It’s changing so fast I’m often left breathless. I’m trying to keep up. I’m here, aren’t I, tapping as fast as I can. I am often confused and puzzled. Most of the time I’m cranky, in a mood. I wonder how I can get out of myself. I think of things I can do. What do I have to change? The rule I have when I come to this space is to leave on a higher note. I might tell you how I am feeling, what space I am in. But it is always about me and not anybody else. I try to be objective and not to crank out my personal biases. Hit me on the head if I do.
That is one thing I’m proud of – my words here. It leads me to think on what Caroline Myss says about the power of words. “A mystical perspective: Your words are your power tools. Each word you use initiates an act of creation and is a thread holding together a part of the fabric of your life. Take one word out of your vocabulary and all the creative power that that word contains evaporates from your life. Take the word “love” out, for example, and everything you understand, know, feel, and experience about “love” would no longer exist.”
I’ve been thinking about a word that I would like to eliminate from my speech. It’s difficult to think of one. I don’t like ‘hate’ but it’s not one I use often. What I say alot is I don’t care. I use it often in self defence/protection. I’m not sure if I mean it. I am giving it meaning by saying it. By eliminating it, it means I do care. Everything matters. I will see how that difference will play in my attitude and well-being.
Today is the first day of the lunar year, the Year of the Dog. Sheba, the dog and I went to the park to celebrate. The sky and clouds were awesome. I saw the sun drift in and out of the clouds. It was travelling so fast it was hard to capture on the camera. Another reminder how fast life and time moves. Don’t think too much and hesitate too long. Put one foot in front of the other and do another lap around the park or wherever you want to go.
I am struggling for energy in the late afternoon, for most of the day actually. I envy those ever cheery, Eveready bunnies. Their spirits and energy never seem to diminish. I like to slap them sometimes. I’m joking, of course. Sometimes I wonder if I have chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia. I’ve been like this for most of my life. My mother says as a child I complain of being tired and my head heavy. I’m still here so I guess I’ll just carry on. It’s the first day of a new year. I will jolly well march forward ho.
First, wishing everyone Gong Hee Fat Choy! happy new year in Chinese. Literally it means “greetings of riches”. Chinese New Year is not till February 16th. Lucky me, I get to celebrate New Year twice. It is the year of the Dog. Don’t ask me what it means. All I know is that the year of the Dog is most unlucky for people born in previous years of the Dog. Good thing I was born in the year of the Tiger.
I am not an expert on Chinese culture but I am Chinese. That makes me qualified enough to speak on some subjects. We are very superstitous. We clean house for the new year so we have space to receive. But we clean before and not on New Year’s Day. No sweeping because you might sweep out good fortune. No washing hair either for the same reason. You might wash fortunes away. I did vacuum today. Too much dog hair. But I will mark February 16th as a no clean day. Red symbolizes good fortune and joy. Money gifts are given in red packets. I like this idea of gifting. It does away with the shopping frenzy and the wrapping. Energy and joy are retained.
Like all cultures, we celebrate the new year with food. We wear new clothes, something red for females. I remembered that and wore my almost good as new red sweater today. We took my parents for dim sim at a new Chinese restaurant, the Asian Garden. My mother is always keen on trying new places and menus. It was perfect. Only a stone’s throw away and the dining room surrounded by windows on the second floor. There was only one problem. The dim sim menu was on an iPad in Chinese and English. It was new to us. We didn’t know to use it to order. They usually bring carts loaded with dim sims around to the tables. We could see what we get. The waiter helped us with the iPad but he spoke very fast. We let my mother order since she knows best. She is hard of hearing so there was a little mix up. But it was all good.
My blood sugar is running low. I am really struggling now. It feels like torture. I best go put some fuel in my tank. I think supper is going to be late.
Chinese New Year is coming on February 19th. It’s the year of the goat. I’m thinking of my roots, where I come from. I have travelled away far and a long time from my homeland. It resides still in my heart.
I’m remembering our house in the village. It was built with money my grandfather sent from Gold Mountain. It was two storied with a cupula on top. I loved climbing up the stairs and emerging from it to play on the roof. It was where I saw my ghosts. My mother told me they were our ancestors and no need to be afraid.
I have memories of chasing chickens around the courtyard. Our house was big, being a Gold Mountain house. We lived in one half and my grandfather’s brother’s family lived in the other half. We were a household of women and children. The men were over- seas working and sending money home. The only adult man is the household was my grandfather’s brother. That’s how it was. We sustained and supported each other.
Down the lane was another Gold Mountain house. My grandfather’s other two brothers’ families lived there. Just like us, they were a household of women and children. We were all overseered by my grandfather’s one brother. But in reality, it was the women who took care of him.
Close to Chinese New Year, memories of New Year’s Eve come to me. I am snug in my bed of wooden planks and a wooden block for a pillow. I don’t recall the hardness or the discomfort of such a bed. But being in winter, it was probably lined with a quilt. In my mind’s eye, I see the flames as the women tended the fire through the night to cook the pastries for the celebration. I feel such contentment and security. That memory is such a blessing to have. It nourishes me through all of life.
So here’s an early toast to the year of the goat. Gong Hee Fat Choy!