Happy New Year!

12 Aug 2014 by gebhard, No Comments »

balloonsWhen I was young, I would always try my hardest to stay up on New Year’s Eve for the ball to the drop. I didn’t make it very often, but if I did, I would cheer, then pass out shortly after. The next day, I might be asked something about resolutions. I didn’t really understand the importance of saying I decided to make a change. I just wanted to stay up late and eat junk food. Many of my first resolutions were to stay up until midnight on New Year’s. The new year always had an air of excitement around it. I feel that same excitement today….

I’ve returned home from another Pennsic.  Overly tired, I’ve unloaded the trailer and the van into the living room where the totes will sit and slowly be picked over in the weeks to come to be re-inventoried and re-organized.

I have washed the last of Pennsic off my shoes, my van, my clothes. I’m cleaner than I’ve been in weeks. I sit here… tired, sore, sunburnt. And as I sit in my boxed-room, home office world of artificial climate control, sterilized surfaces and incandescent lights, behind the sounds of the fans on PC power supplies and air flowing through the vents I swear I can hear the faint sound of what could be drumming or a burst of laughter of people nearby sitting around a fire sharing tales. Just like so much dirt down the drain, so too is Pennsic flowing out of me as life returns to “normal”. I smile and and sit in my computer chair and remember all those little things that make Pennsic such a special event and vow to do it all again next year.

“What is it I do again?” I ask the space around me. The LED lights of my desktop blink back at me in a familiar way. My cat nudges my leg. “Meow” he says.  It’s his way of saying “Welcome home”.  He jumps on my desk and I look into his bright green eyes. “If only you knew Mr. Buttons”, I scratch his ears. I look up at my large white board hung on the wall.  It says things like:

Pennsic 43
Make dress for Katayoun
Finish Prof Plate for Helm (cut & thrust)
Fix Sunshade
New arming coat

And many and many more items.  I stand up and remove Pennsic 43, and replace it with Gulf Wars 2015. I remove many completed items.

Tonight myself and my beloved Baroness Katayoun will begin the process of setting our SCA and Life Priorities for the next year. For this is our New Year, the day after Pennsic.

This is always a time of quiet contemplation.

I’m a big believer in the 10% rule. I try to improve my kit, my camp, and myself by 10% a year. That’s not a very big deal.  For some, maybe it’s swapping out that ring belt for a period belt. Or getting period shoes. Making a wooden chair, or taking up a new weapon.

After Pennsic 40, where I met King Marc of the West, I went home with many bruises on my ribs and the knowledge that a weapon form I truly loved could be as viable as anything else.

It was after Pennsic 41, where I met Duke Marc for the 2nd time and gained a few more bruises on my ribs, that I vowed to only fight bastard sword for a year, due to not getting the result I had hoped from the previous year.

So after this Pennsic, I made a list of things to work on for next year:

From my pick up fights, I’ve outlined a set of new things to work on.

For my personna, I bought a small stacks of new books to read, and to learn.
From hanging out with parents and kids, I have great new ideas to improve my youth activities.
From set up and tear down and general hanging out, we’ve had camp meeting and we’ve drafted out new camp items to be made.

It’s been a long year.  The Reign ended just as melee season was heating up. In spite of all the repairs that need done and all the work left to be done, I can’t help but swell with pride at the very large list of to-do items we have crossed out. As I look down the long road of the year to come, I can see now that it’s going to be a good year.

When I think about old and new SCA Year’s Resolutions, I think of what I’ve accomplished and crossed off, what I’m still working on, and what I would like to do next.

While Pennsic is full of wonderful fun like staying up late and eating junk food, I would encourage everyone to make their own SCA Resolutions. If were ever asked for my advice on how to go about that, I would have this to say:

“Make glorious mistakes.” Crazy thing to say, but I like it. When I’m making mistakes, it’s because I’m learning something new. Making something landsknecht perhaps? Or experimenting with different footwork and/or techniques on the list. learning a new song, or any of a thousand new activities the SCA provides.

By making those mistakes, I hope to learn the needed lessons to stop making them and to achieve new goals. I have no natural talent. Everything I can do, has come at the price of some huge mess and many small ones. Life would be a boring place if everything went right on the first try, and the value of skill so much less.

Get out there and make crazy, crazy, mistakes. Learn something new. As a guy who once tried to set hard points into his arming coat with a power drill, trust me, the achievement of goals begins with making a mess of it.

To mistakes made and new things learned. Happy New Year!

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