I began to think about picking a theme word for 2018 during the Christmas craziness. I was looking for something dreamy and ethereal. I was hoping for a word that was inspiring and majestic. I brainstormed while I colored sacred, geometric patterns. I mulled over the alphabet as I folded my laundry and threw random words out there as I drove countless miles shuttling my kids around. I listened to Tedtalks and inspirational music.
If you don’t like New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, you are doing it all wrong. I concede that you don’t have to do it my way – but mark the event in SOME WAY! If you like it quiet, I guess that’s ok, but I’ll be here singing Karaoke.
In the days preceeding the epic event (I still haven’t convinced you?), I enjoy reviewing last year – who says Facebook is a waste of time? I like dreaming about the next year, making lists, goals, and yes, a dreaded ‘resolution’ or five. For the past three years, I have been using the lovely Susannah Conway’s Unravel Your Year workbook. It is totally cool to spend the last days of the year or the first few days of the next working on it. I think you will thank me – or at least thank Susannah. I would not have known about this book without this smart chick. I think she can help you too – check out her blog.
Sure, you can pick a random time in March or some other time during the year to look back on the year, think about some things you’d like to add to your life or accomplish, write a mission statement – reset, reboot and restart, but are you going to? I’ve made it a habit to do it this time of year. It just seems to make the most sense and I feel like I have the wind at my back.
Get a new notebook.
Dream about what your life would look like if you were in charge! Ha! Wait. You are.
Make a few goals about learning to play a song on the guitar or ‘Kondo-ing‘ your whole house, or lowering your blood pressure or completing a writing class or reading a few books on astrology. Whatever. You pick.
Clearly, this is just my humble opinion – but try it – you might like it. My other advice is to PARTY. If you’re idea of party is way more subdued than mine and my friends, that’s ok too. I’ll heart your Instagram photos of you under your electric blanket with your cats!
Just remeber – I’ll be here singing karaoke. ~ See you in 2018.
Instead, let’s talk about something that I love.
I don’t recall ever hearing the words ‘Winter Solstice’ when I was growing up. Maybe it was because I come from an uber-conservative sect of christianity that might have considered marking this day as contradictory to the belief system. But not so! As far as I can tell, it fits into everyone’s system – we’re all here on the planet with these astronomical events happening all of the time – and I don’t want to miss any more of them.
Such a gigantic, celestial occurence seems to be overlooked by so many. If you went outside and paid attention, you would have known that the sun spent the day in a super-low arc in the sky. My favorite golden orb was framed by windows in my house that seldom see it since it spends most of the year much higher in the sky. It cast nice, long shadows – the longest of the year, in fact. Sadly, so many folks left that unwitnessed.
Dennis and the boys indulged my devotion to the day that the sun comes back. I need longer days! We lit luminaries on the front steps, candles in the house and a fire in the hearth – and we haven’t done that in a long time. I thought I was pushing my luck presenting them with an evening of building graham cracker houses. Turns out, they enjoyed it way more than I thought they would.
I often find it hard to feel joy during this frantic time of year, but I made it through the darkest night with the ones I love, and that makes me feel happy and hopeful. I will continue to build solstice celebrations into my household traditions in the coming years. You must know how much I love the opposing solstice, right?
I am participating in a writing project called NaNoWriMo. That cute little word, say it – it’s cute – stands for National Novel Writing Month. Not only do I have a novel idea, I have about 14 of them. I enjoy playing in my head with ideas for stories I’d like to see lived out on the written page.
I’ve never actually put much on paper besides a blog post or an email. I have no college english classes, writing classes or any idea what I am doing. I did a small amount of participation in ‘Preptober’ – get it?! Like ‘October’ only with some preparation? I did a little preparation in my head, a little on paper and a lot on youtube – one of my Most Favorite Things. I am still fleshing out my storyline and characters as I go along. It turns out that I fall somewhere in between the ‘plotters’ and the ‘pantsers’ in the contest. A little plotting and a little flying by the seat of my pants.
I have been completely inspired by and ridiculously enamored with this girl. Agh! I want to meet her and hang with her. I am actually fairly certain we must be related in someway – but maybe it’s just my deep, Scottish heritage manifesting itself.
Oh, yes. It’s a contest and I am seriously pursuing a ‘Winner’ T-shirt. You win NaNoWriMo by getting a 50,000 word novel on paper. Today is Day 5 and I am on target so if I just stick with the program, it should be completely attainable, right? Say yes.
The program I am referring to is getting up at 5 a.m. and writing for an hour. I like to think I can do that for 31 days
and the rest of my life as I become a famous author. I’m actually enjoying that time between 5 and 6. I assume it will get harder and I’ll run out of ideas and sometimes it will feel like real work.
Until then, I’ll be all ‘I’m-getting-up-early-and-writing-a-novel’ about it. I feel like I am trying on ‘Author’ clothing and behaving my way to believing it. The most exciting part so far is being introduced to an entire writing world – blogs, books, courses, theories, and ideas. I didn’t even know what I didn’t know before embarking on this. But that’s usually the case with most new things.
When I don’t think what I am writing is all that good, I have been most encouraged by the following quote by the dreamy and wonderful Ann Lamott.
So…I’m starting somewhere.
Hi. I’m Janet Costello and I am writing a novel.
My novel, in case you had any inclination to know, is a modern day foundling story about a woman who encounters an abandoned newborn and does not respond in the way that might be considered reasonable and prudent under the circumstances. The story will follow the consequences of her actions and the chain of events that is set in motion by her chance discovery.
I hand Gavin the keys to the car every chance I get. Yesterday was a long and winding, hour-long drive including highways, tricky corners and traffic circles. I’ve taken him out to drive in the dark and in the rain.
I thought I would be a super-cool mom that LOVED driving with my teen. It turns out that’s not the case. It makes me nervous, but his ability to be an experienced, competant and skillful driver trumps my need to not feel nervous. So I put on my seat belt, tune to a radio station I love and I crochet. It helps me to look more chill than I am.
At this point in life, he takes the wheel and decides on the speed and when to stop. With me as a guiding presence, a consultant if you will, he navigates the turns, calculates distances and chooses a different side road than I suggest to get to the same place. Of course.
I am accutely aware that without this junction, I leave him attempting to go from ‘non-driver’ to ‘driver’ status without the baby steps and trial and error that ensure he won’t take off the mirrors of all the cars on the right side of road. Oh, I’m so certain that is going to happen when he hugs that side of the road!
But it doesn’t. And we both learn.
I have so little time left for him to practice safely next to me – although I would prefer he take his seat in the back in a five-point restraint car seat and eat a granola bar. I have a little time to contribute my opinions to his decision-making and information bank. I feel looming pressure to make sure he knows everything he needs to know before he pulls out the driveway, alone, that first time. For now, he is a captive audience 🙂
He has begun, on occassion, to tell me to be quiet and let him drive. He assures me he’s ‘got it’ and that he is an excellent driver.
Thank God we’re just talking about driving and not his whole life, right?