I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions, but I do get excited about the potential for new beginnings. In my work life, I tend to look to the week between Christmas and January 1st as a time for reflection and goal setting. In my writing life, I do the same, and in my personal life I tend to choose a new house project to tackle. Last year it was my office and this year it will be the room that surrounds the 200-year-old fireplace we haven’t used since we moved here. I cannot wait to curl up in front of it with a good book and listen to the crackle and pop of the wood as it burns.
Sounds like a lot to pack into one week, right?
Well, it is, but it’s just a starting point. As a goal-oriented person, I like to know that I’m moving toward something. At the same time, I continually remind myself to try to stay present in the moment. Is it possible to do both? I’d like to think so, but it does require a constant reminder that balance is essential.
The summer has also been a time a time of reflection and goal setting for me. Since life tends to slow down a bit, our schedules are more relaxed. I get to spend more time outdoors, where inspiration seems to flow more freely, like a cool breeze across the water meeting me where I sit reclined on a beach with my toes in the sand. I’m actually on my back deck, but I’m able to let my mind wander and imagine things I might not have dared to hope for during the busy, hectic and deadline-driven times of the year. It takes a little more work in the cold, winter months to conjure up that kind of open-minded intention setting, but it’s a wonderful excuse to pause and take note.
This year, during the holiday week, I opened up the file from January 2022 to reveal what I was thinking about nearly one year ago. I listed some business goals which I have since achieved. Check. The ongoing intention to make more time for writing the book was also listed. While it never seems to be enough time, I have dedicated at least one uninterrupted day each week to my writing practice. Check. I had wanted to get excerpts of my writing published in journals or magazines and that goal is yet to be achieved. But as I write this, I’m starting something new in launching this website that will feature some of my work, sharing it with anyone who might be interested. So that’s something.
Looking back at my summer intentions, I wrote that I wanted to have music back in my life in a more regular way. Before the season changed, I was working with a new client focused on bringing amazing music to audiences across our region and joined a large choir that rehearses weekly at Syracuse University. I also committed to attending musical performances and bringing friends and family along to enjoy them with me. All of those experiences continue to be fulfilling in ways for which I am incredibly grateful.
While each of the goals were a bit loose in structure and not tied to any timeline, the mere act of writing them down and revisiting them at least monthly, served as a gentle reminder that they were important and worthy of the time and energy required to turn the wishes into reality.
This more fluid way of identifying and honoring goals reminds me of a phrase I heard Oprah Winfrey once say:
“Don’t hold anything too tightly. Just wish for it. Want it. Let it come from the intention of real truth for you. And then let it go.”
In this way, I think we can dream for the future but also stay open to the opportunities and encounters we have yet to imagine. I’m still thinking about 2023, and while I have a few notes on the page, not all the goals have surfaced yet. I do know that I’m committed to sharing more with you and that this is just the beginning.