As a former consistent blogger, I have totally felt like I have “abandoned” my writing. Perhaps the doctoral work was what started the demise; perhaps not having a full time classroom position any longer to supply me with ideas contributed to the demise; or perhaps the emotional rollercoaster ride that I have been on for the past four years led to this blog’s demise. It has become just a New Year’s blog… a time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the New Year. Not bad, perhaps it has been repurposed but not abandoned.
As some folks know, I’ve been working on a series of photographs with the theme of “Abandoned” over the past year. The incentive for this series of photographs began while walking on my favorite trail, the Battle Road Trail. When I first started really exercising on this trail, there was a lot of cows that used to hang out on the trail (in a fenced in area!). After a while, the cows disappeared and this little shed, that I wrote about last year, was sitting lonely in the field. I had never really noticed it with all the cows around it, but since the area had been abandoned by the cows, it suddenly stuck out to me. I loved photographing it throughout the seasons, at different times of the day, and from different view points. Even though it had been abandoned by the cows, it still had purpose. Lately, I have also been fascinated by several farm stands that are on Lexington Road. These use to be working farm stands, but when the National Park Service took over this area, this was the end of the businesses that once existed. To me, Concord lost a part of its agricultural history through this move to make the area more like it was in colonial times. On examining these buildings, there are still signs of their past history. One has a “We’re Open” sign still in the window. Another has several framed pictures out on a bench on the porch. There are beautiful vistas from both locations. It is sad to me for these buildings, once part of the fabric of Concord, sit alone. It just doesn’t seem right.
I also liked the theme of abandoned as I felt it also related to my own personal life. Some of you know my story. While yes, I kind of was abandoned by someone I loved, I refused to be defined by that story. In fact, when I started to dig in deeper to this theme of abandoned, I began to explore whether perhaps being abandoned might perhaps lead to new purposes. If you explore the definitions of abandon, you will find various definitions such as:
- cease to support or look after (someone); desert.
- give up completely (a course of action, a practice, or a way of thinking)
- allow oneself to indulge in a desire or impulse.
But, can abandonment lead to better things? Repurposing yourself or a structure? Does being abandoned let you pursue different avenues or pursue interests that you may not have had the opportunity to explore before in your previous life? As I moved from my theme of abandonment being a negative thing to it being perhaps an enlightening moment, I began to think about how different my life is now from what it was five years ago. And it is different, but a good different. I have traveled to more places in the past three years than I did in the previous 23 years. I have lots of great friends whose company I greatly enjoy. I have a challenging but wonderful new job, that I probably would not have pursued had the situation not occurred. And finally, I have two wonderful sons, (which I did before) but I treasure my relationships with them more now than ever. Some of the things that I enjoyed doing many years ago, but I abandoned doing, I have picked back up again over the past four years. So, as the new year begins, what things can you abandon to move yourself forward as a new and improved version of your old self?