|Sunset over sand bar to Bar Island at low tide by Laura J. Bear|
2015 was a big year for good things. It witnessed the launch of my first novel: WHERE THE HEART LANDS in March. I turned a half century old. My son got married. I had the good fortune of participating in two writing retreats: the Cayuga Lake retreat with my writing sisters and the New Hampshire Berlin Writers Retreat at Coppertoppe Inn in Hebron, NH where I was reunited with the extraordinary writer Greg Norris and met several wonderful new friends in person after hearing about them for so long.
We were not immune to sad and tragic things in 2015. We lost our dear friend Mike. The news brought ugly events into our home: racism, torture, death, general inhumanity, and a more and more divided nation with crazier political ridiculousness every day. My fifty-year-old body was suddenly less able to deal with chronic pain issues and stress. With sorrow and age comes renewed appreciation for everything I take for granted every other day: the warm sun on my face, the rain pinging on the rooftop; the kiss of wind on my skin; my family; my health,; my friends; trees, water, birds, animals, nature; quiet; laughter; a bicycle ride; live music; writing; my ability to read; the fragility of life; the capacity to love someone more than yourself; the simple sharing of my day with my spouse; the touch of his hand; the knowing that someone else cares about where I am at any given time.
Each new year offers a fresh page to my story and I am setting some goals for 2016:
1) Choose kindness over being right, especially in my own house!
2) Write something every day, and don't sweat the word count.
3) Submit a short story every two weeks.
4) Write at least one nonfiction article a month.
5) Finish the draft of novel #2.
6) Play my mandolin or guitar at least every other day.
7) Think before I speak, and listen more than I talk.
8) Cook on the weekends and freeze dinners for the work week.
9) Laugh more.
10) Go for it: I'm not getting any younger. Quit striving for perfection and jump in.
11) Learn from my mistakes and move on.
12) Get outside every chance I get.
May your new year be your best one yet.