Hopes and Dreams and a Word for 2016

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Well, here we are, almost a month into 2016.  How’s everyone’s year been so far?  I know there are some people who don’t really care for or about New Year’s – they say that you shouldn’t need a new calendar year to make positive changes in your life, if you want to, and they’re probably right.  Still, I am very much a New Year’s person.  I love beginnings, and possibilities.  I always liked the first day of school, and I love the dawning of a new calendar year for the same reason – there’s something so reassuring about a stretch of unblemished days ahead, just waiting for me to fill them up (hopefully) with love, and laughter, and learning.  And for the same reasons, I like making resolutions.  To me, resolutions are such a hopeful thing.  They’re not an admission of failure from the previous year, or a hopeless gesture – they’re optimism at its best.

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There are so many things I’d like to do and accomplish in 2016.  Take up birdwatching!  Run another half marathon!  Make progress on my Classics Club reading list!  Lift weights!  Grow a garden!  Teach Peanut to read!  Learn to bake with yeast!  Visit my brother again!  More hiking!  Keep cut veggies in my fridge for snacking!  Finally write that novel!  Organize my photos!  Climb more mountains!

Of course life is full right now, and there’s no way I can do all of those things in a year – not even if I quit my job and devoted myself to keeping resolutions, which would be counterproductive because it would make it much harder to work on my ongoing resolution to have, like, money and stuff for when I retire.  Between work, parenting, and figuring out our housing situation, I don’t have much free time.  But that’s okay – I can still squeeze in little pockets of fun (alone time fun, fun with Steve, and fun with the kids – all qualify) and I get so much joy out of our family, so even if I don’t end the year feeling accomplished enough to meet Mr. Darcy’s exacting standards, I think I’ll be all right.

That said, it wouldn’t be the dawn of a new year if I didn’t make some resolutions.  So here they are (in no particular order, and not sorted into any kind of categories this year):

  • Get my confidence back.  I’d like to eat less sugar, lose the remainder of the baby weight (there’s still a little bit left, but I’m not too worried – I know that commitment to eating well and getting back into running will take care of it) and feel as strong and capable as I felt before getting pregnant with Nugget.
  • Be a good memory keeper.  This one shouldn’t be terribly difficult, because I relish my role as the family memory keeper (and family fun forcer).  It’s mostly going to be a matter of tackling certain projects – some blog housekeeping, making my 2015 family yearbook, catching up on some old family yearbooks that are languishing in a partially-completed state, and figuring out how I’d like to preserve vacation memories from our two big trips of last year.  I’d also like to look into archiving video footage and old photographs – but I may not have time for that.
  • Challenge my bookshelves.  I want to really expand my reading horizons.  Right now, I’m planning to participate in the 2016 Read Harder challenge, work toward my Classics Club goals, and I’m setting a goal of 33% representation of diverse authors (people of color, LGBTQ, religious minorities or other traditionally marginalized voices) on my reading list for 2016.  (Hit me with recommendations, please.  I’m already planning deep dives into Octavia Butler and Jackie Woodson, but any other suggestions will be very welcome.)
  • Embrace slow.  Life feels very fast-paced right now.  Two small children, a stressful job, and another looming housing hunt often leave me feeling as though my head is spinning.  It’s one reason I think I gravitate toward slower-paced, more tactile hobbies: reading, knitting, baking, yoga. I’d like to really tap into those sources of contentment this year, because I think they’re key to my personal calm.  And if possible, I’d like to grow my skills – I’d love to knit some more complicated things, learn to bake bread, continue to learn about gardening, and start birdwatching and maybe even canning.  Who knows?  I just want to relax by using my hands more this year (for things other than typing and turning pages).
  • Write something off-blog.  A few months ago I told a couple of friends that I finally had an idea for a novel – an idea that I thought had legs enough to take me more than 300 pages to tell the story.  (I always have lots of ideas, but they usually peter out after five pages or so.)  I am still working through the details, and the idea involves some historical research before I can start writing, but this is the year I make an attempt at it, or at least the beginnings of an attempt.

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In addition to making a few resolutions (can I even call those resolutions? I’m leaving myself lots of wiggle room this year) I also feel compelled to pick a word for the year.  Sometimes I set an intention, sometimes I pick a word, and sometimes I just list goals, but this year, a word feels right and necessary.  I told a family friend that I was planning to use the word “forward,” as a way to remind myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other, but since that conversation a different word has called out to me and I think it’s the word I need to follow through 2016.  The word is:

HOME.

We’re preparing to (yet again) move at the end of this month, and as of the writing of this blog post we don’t know where we’re going.  (We should probably get on that.)  But aside from just the mere shell of a house, we really need to find a home.  I haven’t felt at home – really, truly, at home, at peace, at rest – since the moment I pulled out of my driveway in Virginia and turned my car northwards.  I don’t know what to do with, or about, that, but it’s the truth.  I still feel like a Virginian stranded above the Mason-Dixon line.  I’m constantly homesick for Old Dominion.  And the fact is – I need to sort out what “home” means to me, and find some way to be at peace no matter where we live.  There’s much more thinking and searching than a few paltry sentences at the end of a blog post can do, so expect more on this theme in the coming months.  At the moment I’m not planning any sort of regular check-ins, but I’d like “home” to infuse and inform my writing and my living this year.

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What are you planning for 2016, my friends?

One thought on “Hopes and Dreams and a Word for 2016

  1. Pingback: Halfway There, But Still At The Starting Gate | Covered In Flour

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