My Not-So-New-Year’s List

The blank slate of a new year
The blank slate of a new year

It was a roller-coaster year, 2015. Job changes, health issues, threats abroad and at home, too much time spent brooding about what is, and not enough effort put forth on what could be . . . I’m sort of glad it’s over.

Both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day were more exciting when I was young. There were the nights my brother and sister and I talked my mother into letting us borrow pots and pans to clang noisily after we stood under the streetlight in front of the house chanting, “. . . five, four, three, two, ONE!!!”

Probably 30 to 40 seconds in, she would open the screen door and laughingly say, “Shhhhhhh, that’s enough, get back in here!”

And, for a few years, the neighborhood girls and I planned a slumber party where we stayed up all night watching black-and-white horror movies to usher in the New Year. By 1 or 2 a.m., my brain was fuzzy and it was all I could do to keep my mind on whatever threat was stalking the terrified actors on TV. One year, I managed to prolonged my misery until 4 or 5 a.m. before succumbing to slumber.

I’ve never been good about making New Year’s resolutions. And . . . I’m a bit of a procrastinator (note today’s date). But making lists and crossing items off gives me a sense of accomplishment.

So, inspired by the many changes, fears and uncertainties wrought by 2015, the new positions my husband and I both start this week (and also the brilliant sunshine extremely welcome after what seems like months of rain), I will make myself an agenda for the newly minted year. (Like most rough drafts, it will be big on ideas and short on specifics.)

Item 1 Keep moving

My passion for exercise dwindled over the past few years, as I spent all my time at work on my feet. In 2016, I’ll try to do something every day, whether it’s walking, working out, or furiously cleaning the house (I’m sure my husband is laughing at that last bit).

Item 2 Keep learning

I made it through Word 2013 and PowerPoint last year, and drafted a family newsletter and cookbook. I started this blog. I’m big on acquiring knowledge, but lax about putting it all into practice. This year, I’ll try to weed out some of the interesting in favor of mastering things I can do to improve things for myself and those I love.

Item 3 Keep investing in family

My husband and I have talked about relocating if necessary, because we aren’t yet ready (or able) to retire. Because of his current work situation, he travels more than he’d like. Because of mine, I have a fair amount of free time. Last year I was able to make several trips to see him while he completed assignments out of state. I enjoyed some of our grand kids for days at a time, and sought out conversations with our children. I made a trip to see my Mom. This year, I plan to do more of the same.

2016 is still young, but time, like a conveyor belt, keeps moving along. I’ve taken the jump, and my goals are in motion. We’ll see what the new year will bring.

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Are you good at keeping them?







Surviving the in-between

Walks to a neighborhood park rank high on my mood-boosting list

What’s on my list today? Completing and turning in the last assignment for my online class, cleaning house and filling the fridge for three active and hungry grandkids, and getting some exercise and sunshine before I talk myself out of it. For most folks, that’s probably a week-end, or at least an evening, kind of list.

What I’m trying not to do is think too much about the situation I find myself in right now, which is stuck. In-between. Not bringing in a paycheck, and not happy with what I was doing when I earned one. Wanting to move forward, and feeling like the wheels are spinning, and the car’s making lots of noise, but it’s not leaving the driveway.

I know that’s not true. I’m working on new skills, starting a new project, reconnecting with family, and enjoying hobbies I’ve long neglected. If I really think about it, the way I should think about it, I realize we’re all in transition – all the time, even when we feel like we’ve got everything coordinated in our calendars, all under control.

We’re starting a relationship, or ending one. We’re preparing for a new job, or project, or assignment, or completing one. We’re getting ready to leave a place, or an idea, or a dream, and preparing to embrace a new adventure. We’re moving away from something old, and toward something different.

We can plan all we want, but we still don’t know how things will turn out. I’m on a new journey, but I’m not sure where it’s going, or where these next few steps will take me.

Well. I’ve checked most everything I need to do off my list for today, and the weekend’s coming. A blank work week, for me, now includes an empty weekend, ready to fill, with family and fun. I won’t look at this time as in-between, but as an opportunity. The sun, the pool, and the grandkids are calling. We’ll see what this weekend holds.


I keep dreaming about windows. Long, wide, enclosed porches or rooms, with dozens of windows, lined up in a row. I am concerned about the locks on the doors. Or maybe it is the windows themselves. They stand naked, and bare, unadorned with curtains, or drapes, or even blinds. I see them, lined up in regimented rows, and feel unsettled. I am supposed to do something, but I don’t know what it is. I awaken, still feeling confused.

I think the windows must be a metaphor. I have been somewhat adrift for the last five or so years, trying to figure out where I fit; hoping to discover my purpose. It hasn’t been clear. I took a different career path; I tried on different shoes. They did not fit. And so I stand here, nervous and uncertain, wondering what could be on the other side of all those windows.

I know what my passions are. My family, my God, writing, photography, the wonder of nature and the glory of the Universe. I know that I am reinventing myself, day by day, and I want to be better, stronger, more at peace. And I want to be useful. I do know how to put pen to paper. (Or fingers to keyboard.) And so I will. At this moment, I choose a window. It looks small, and smudged, and I must squeeze myself through it. I don’t know, yet, what is on the other side. But it is my window, and I am jumping through.

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