I seriously love the beginning of a new year. I love fresh starts, clean slates, and other such metaphors. I love that the holidays are over and that the sunlight is finally starting to lengthen every day once again.
2017 was actually a pretty good year for me: I published a new book, got chickens, made some long overdue road trips to visit with people that I love, read 50ish books total, even went on a couple dates (an unusual activity for me). All in all, I call the year a pretty successful one.
The best thing that I did was, of course, writing and releasing my book “An Adult-ish Toolkit: 30 Things I Have Learned in 30 Years”. Working on this book and reflecting on the lessons that I consider to be the most important in my own life really helped to solidify those lessons. As I wrote down these various pieces of advice for others, I had to confront the ones that I was not actually following myself, even though I obviously knew the importance of them. Spending five months (the time it took me to write the book) intensely focused on my own ideals was a pretty exhilarating experience (it also taught me that I can write a book in five months). The fact that people responded so positively to the book once it was published was honestly just icing on the cake, though I will admit that icing was embarrassingly delicious.
The last few years have been very transitional for me, as I’ve slowly been moving from one stage of my life to the next, but with the beginning of 2018 I feel like I am starting the year firmly in this new stage. I am officially “in my 30s”, I feel like I actually have a handle on this “self-published author” deal that I have chosen for myself, and I have clear, tangible, and concrete goals ahead of me. And hey, look, I have this nice new website, too. It’s almost like I know what I am doing with my life. (Almost.)
I don’t really go in for New Year’s Resolutions, but last year I discovered a few things that actually work better for me.
A single word used as a theme for the year
My word for 2017 was “Homesteading”. I really wanted to focus more on the domestic side of my life: eating and cooking better food, keeping a tidier and more organized house, and of course getting my own flock of laying hens for fresh eggs. I wanted to make a commitment to simply being where I am, enjoying my home and my life, after years of feeling like everything was just temporary and that change could come at any second. Embracing this attitude of quiet domesticity has brought me so much peace, and, ironically, given me so much more energy for seeking new adventures and looking towards the future.
My word for 2018 is “Monetize”. I don’t really have dreams of being outrageously wealthy from my writing, but a bit more financial security is nothing to scoff at. Over these last few years, I’ve proven to myself that I can actually getting the writing done, and that people actually want to read it, so now I really want to focus on reaching more readers and building a long-term career plan. (It’s more fun than it sounds, because that includes the different books and series and essays that I want to write over the next few years.)
A bible verse to reflect on
Choosing a Bible verse for the year was something that was more divinely inspired than something I came up with on my own. I was at mass on New Year’s Day for the Solemnity of Mary, and the readings included the verse “Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). Something about that verse really spoke to my heart, as I have struggled sometimes with sharing too many of my half-formed thoughts and opinions (on social media and in real life) when I would be better off to just keep pondering things on my own for a while longer. Spending the year trying to more closely follow the example of Our Lady, the Virgin Mary, has taught me so much, including how to better trust God and that I don’t always need to be the one to “fix” the problems and opinions of those around me.
The verse that God has put on my heart for 2018 is Luke 16:10, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in that which is greater: and he that is unjust in that which is little is unjust in that which is greater.” I have always struggled with consistency in my habits, never wanting to conform to routines or the expectations of others. But there are certain areas of my life that I know would benefit greatly from more dedication and consistency, such as my prayer life and writing habits. I want to be faithful in the little things as well as the great things.
So, that is where I am at as we go in to the new year.
How was 2017 for you? Do you have regrets? Did you have accomplishments that you are proud of?
What are you looking forward to in 2018? Do you make resolutions or choose a word or set goals?