I’ll admit that 2012 was not a good year in my household, so I’m looking forward to what 2013 may bring. The turning over of the calendar from one year to the next is a pretty arbitrary thing; tomorrow morning will dawn much like this morning did. Still, it’s a good time to pause and spend some time to reflect. What have I made it through? Where am I now? Where would I like to be?
When it comes to resolutions, I tend to be the kind of person who makes several, follows through for about two weeks, and then sinks back into my usual patterns. It can be discouraging. So this year, I decided that instead of making a resolution, I’d choose something I wanted to learn–and then take a class. This appealed to me for a couple of reasons. My husband’s ill health keeps me home most of the time, and a class would get me out of the house. Also, there’s much greater motivation to follow through on something that you’ve paid for. Finally, it’s been a long time since I went out of my way to learn something in the context of a group of people, and doing so seemed like fun.
So I started thinking. Initially, I came up with three main ideas:
- A physical activity. Most of my exercise these days comes in the form of taking walks. So I was thinking that something like yoga or Pilates (a new studio just opened a couple of blocks from my house) might be a good addition. My daughter does Crossfit and loves it, but I don’t think I’m ready for that.
- A musical instrument. I took piano lessons as a child, abandoned them, started playing on my own when I was in high school, and then stopped again in college. We don’t have a piano, but I do have an electronic keyboard. I wondered how quickly I could learn to play again.
- A language. I love studying languages. I used to have decent intermediate-level French, and I have a friend who takes French conversation classes. I’d also like to learn German (which my husband speaks) or Italian (largely due to my opera obsession). And ever since starting Deadtown I’ve wanted to learn Welsh, although I think I might have a tough time finding a Welsh class in central NY.
Those were my first three thoughts. All of them are appealing to me. But in the end I signed up for something completely different: a writing workshop. I saw one advertised in my local weekly. It’s called Writing Through the Rough Spots, and it seemed like it might be a good way to process some of the changes and challenges that have been happening in my life. One of my goals for 2013 is to expand my writing repertoire. Of course, I’ll be writing Deadtown 6 and (hopefully) a sequel to my mystery, Peace, Love, and Murder. (People have been asking for that long enough!) But I have other stories to tell and other voices to let speak. A workshop seemed like a good way to open up to those stories and voices. I’m not taking it for therapy (although writing can be therapeutic). I’m not taking it with the intent to write something publishable (although who knows what stories might emerge). I’m taking it to flex my writing muscles and explore new possibilities in my writing. And I’ve committed ten weeks to doing that. It’s the best resolution I can think of.
Happy New Year to you! Whether you make resolutions, set goals, or simply go with the flow, I hope you have a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2013!