Happy New Year! I know, I’m a little late to the party, but I try.  The picture is one I took of our New Year’s “celebration.”  It wasn’t much, and I feel like the new year came in on a haze of muddled thoughts and half-realized dreams.  Much like most of 2016 was spent.  So, there wasn’t a lot of fanfare, just the tiniest bit of hopefulness for a better year.  I drank barely half a glass of wine with the family (my celebratory foolishness started a few days earlier when I decided to down a whole bottle of Baileys Irish Cream by myself.  It felt good at the time.  The real pain started later that night and the following day), and promptly went to bed with a book.

I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions.  They tend to be broken, anyway.  Instead, I like to focus on reading and writing goals with maybe some other creative outlets thrown in.  And I like to choose a word for the year.  This year that word is balance.  I have such a hard time with this.  There’s so many demands made on my time, more so now than ever it seems, that sometimes when I do have a moment to myself or a few hours, I just shut down.  I’m emotionally and mentally exhausted and have nothing left over for myself.  I could use that time to write but it usually finds me snoozing because a nap is all I can manage.  Maybe a nap is all I need at that time, and I have to think about that, too, and not feel guilty for resting.

This year, I’ll be working through two reading challenges.  One is self-imposed and the other is one that a friend shared with me.  The one I chose for myself has 50 books, the other one is a 52 book challenge (one book a week).  Some of the themes/prompts overlap, so I’ll probably be combining those, and hopefully I’ll end up with at least 50 books read if not more.

I also started the 52 Week Dogwood Photography Challenge today.  I’m excited about that.  Each week, there’s a prompt and photographers share their photos on various social media websites.  My social media of choice is Instagram.  If you want to follow along on my journey, feel free!

More than reading or photography goals, more than anything else, I have to remember what’s really important to me, and that’s my writing. Not much feels as cleansing as fully immersing myself in a piece of writing.  It may take me all day, or weeks to finish whatever I’m working on, and I may think every other word stinks, but those rare moments I can be alone with my thoughts are precious.

And speaking of cleansing, I plan to take up meditation this year.  I’ve had a couple of books on my shelves for years.  One is “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Short Meditations”
and the other is “Meditation for Beginners”.  I’ve flipped through the books before but never made a real attempt at trying it out.  I’ll be starting that tomorrow.

Whatever you do in the new year, take care of you.