New Year’s reflections and resolutions, 2019 version

A new year is upon us; January 1, 2019 is just a few days away. My, how time flies. As far as I know, I’m the only one in my family who makes New Year’s resolutions, although I should ask my daughters-in-law and my granddaughter. I can imagine that at least one of them might be part of the club and I just don’t know it. As someone who lives by lists, including daily to-do lists of things that I know I’m going to do but love being able to tick off at the end of the day, I love reviewing my New Year’s resolutions at the end of a year and spending time identifying a few major goals for the year ahead. The end-of-year calm descends briefly with the waning of the frenzy of holiday prep and festivities. Even the news shifts from fast-breaking news to various versions of “the year in review” (well, with a few unpleasant exceptions). This period of calm lends itself to personal reviews of the year just ending, along with personal hopes for the year ahead. Since the year hasn’t quite started yet, we can look upon it as a blank slate, full of promise. We can at least pretend for a few days.

How did I do with last year’s resolutions?

As I announced in my New Year’s post last Dec 31 (A New Year’s tradition: reflections, resolutions, and dreams of fresh starts), I set 4 major goals for myself. I didn’t do so well!

  1. Running. Run 500 miles in 2018. Hmm. Well, I was sick all of January and most of December, so I’m not going to count that time. I took a tumble during a 10K at the end of September and was nervous about running after that, so I’m going to discount Oct and Nov, too. That still leaves Feb-Sept. If I was aiming for more or less 10 miles per week during that time period, how did I do? Not great, even after giving myself a pass on 4 months. Being the list maker that I am, I did keep track. It was more like an average of 6 miles (10K) per week than 10 miles. I did at least complete 3 10Ks. I’m generously giving myself a B-. What the heck!
  2. Writing. I committed to writing a new series of stories for small children. I did start it, more than once. I got bogged down because my premise includes a few characters who are children of immigrant families. I wanted to add that dimension of kids with different languages and cultures at home than the ones they learn and live by in school and play. Then the whole issue of cultural appropriation became public in an ugly sort of way while I was working through this, and it made me nervous about continuing. As a “white person”, is it OK for me to be writing about anything but what I have personally experienced? And, if not, how does children’s literature become more diverse, to better reflect our diverse society? I’m not sure I’ve resolved this yet, but I still like my initial idea. I think I have to have the confidence to work through it and let the chips fall where they may. I did write and illustrate a few stories for my youngest grandsons, but that’s not the series I had planned, not by a long shot. I’m giving myself a C.
  3. Blogging. I committed to writing a blog post more or less once a week. I am happy to say that I succeeded in that one; I even exceeded it. Gosh, I hope I didn’t post too many times and have people saying, “oh, no, not again!” I’m giving myself an A (for quantity, not quality).
  4. News. I committed to not obsessing over the news. I was an abject failure at this. I’m not going to even try to address this despair-inducing problem in a resolution this year; I know it would be futile. I’m giving myself an F.

What major goals will I set for myself for 2019?

  1. Running. Instead of distance, I’m going to set some target races for myself. That’s what gets me onto the trails. To do: Feb 10, 4K Frozen Nose and Toes Fun Run. End of May, Fredericton (or somewhere else) 10K. Mid-Sept, Terry Fox Run. End of September, Fredericton Fall Classic 10K (or somewhere else, and no tripping this time).
  2. Writing. I will continue with, and complete, my idea for a new series of children’s stories.

    These old series need company!

  3. Blogging. I will write the equivalent of one blog post per week (again).
  4. Creative endeavours. 2018 was a year with no quilting whatsoever. I miss every aspect of it, from initial design and choosing the perfect fabrics to tying off the last hem stitch. I will undertake some quilting projects, and perhaps try watercolors again.
  5. Spending quality time with family and friends. A very long (80 years!) Harvard study  that popped up in an online newsfeed I was reading recently reminds us that the one thing that really makes us happy and healthy, over and above everything else, is the quality of our relationships. It’s not about how many friends you have, but the quality of those friendships you do have. One very good friend may be the difference-maker. Close relationships bring joy to our lives. We must not let the demands and stresses of life overtake our ability to nurture the friendships that sustain us in life. I am blessed with family and friends who make my life far richer than it would otherwise be. I know I can count on these special people in my life when I’m in need, and I have to make sure that they know that I am there for them as well, no matter what. I need to make sure they know how important they are to me. I will actively nurture those relationships in 2019. More off-campus meetings, for one thing! 😉

Thank you, blogging world, for indulging me. Making a public pronouncement of one’s aspirations is surprisingly motivating. 🙂

If you are not a list maker or a committed creator of New Year’s resolutions, you may feel free to shake your head – gently, of course, and with good humour. If setting out New Year’s resolutions is an integral part of this time of year for you, welcome to my world. How did you do with last year’s resolutions? Are you shifting to an entirely new set of resolutions this year, or is there some perseverance evident in your resolutions for 2019? It’s all good. It’s a blank slate, after all! Happy New Year, everyone.

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12 Responses to New Year’s reflections and resolutions, 2019 version

  1. Roy McCarthy says:

    Best of luck with those Jane. I prefer not to look too far ahead and to take life as I find it, day to day. Certainly I have a running target of 1,150 miles, and I’d like to do a few off-Island. Other than that I find I have no resolutions at all 🙂

  2. Diane Doris says:

    Happy 2019! Good for you to review your list from last year. I doubt a lot of people do that. I do not make New Year’s resolutions per se but I do from time to time thru the year decide I need to change some things and then pursue it. I might try to write some goals with steps to achieve them this year. I see that a lot on social media right now. Best of luck with your children’s books. I think you can write characters from different cultures. Imagine the books that would not exist today of that was the case!

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks, Diane. I’ve always made lists and resolutions, but I’ve never felt the weight of accountability until I “announced” my intentions in a blog post! For me it became a more powerful incentive than I could have imagined. It’s a bit weird, since obviously nobody else cares. 😏

      Thanks as well for your encouragement about my kids’ story idea. You’re right, I need to just go for it. Happy New Year. I look forward to reading more about just how much you continue to enjoy retirement!

  3. A thought-provoking post, dear Jane. In my book, you’ve done very well indeed. I see that you tried at everything you planned. You succeeded with the blogging. You also did very well at running — maybe your goal was unrealistic in the first place? Great marks for the achievement, despite the setbacks. Be KIND to yourself on this front.
    Your efforts with the children’s series: brava for the intention AND for starting.We know that if authors only stuck with what they know, life would be dull; we must imagine and empathize to create great stories. Ideas for dealing with this controversial topic of cultural appropriation?
    1) Seek out knowledge on what the real issues are; not knowing is often the basis of division, roadblocks and unnecessary heartache.
    2) Consider collaborating with someone from a different cultural background to write the books.
    3) Write the book, then get feedback from a cultural adviser/ professional editor with relevant experience.
    I hope this helps.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Cynthia, thank you for your glass-half-full analysis of the degree of success of my 2018 resolutions. I’ll take it! I really appreciate your suggestions wrt my children’s story idea. Good advice. You might even be one of the people I seek out for feedback – when I get that far! May all your hopes and aspirations for 2019 come to pass, Cynthia.

  4. I never make New Year’s resolutions. Then I don’t have to worry about whether or not I can keep them. I do, however, have a general sense of what goals I’d like to reach “soon” and try very hard to meet those goals. Sometimes I succeed. (Like, for instance, I just made the last payment on the furniture I bought, paying it off more than a year ahead of time – now I own all the furniture in my house. Of course, I still don’t completely own the plumbing or the windows, but I’ll try to pay those off ahead of time, too. )

  5. DM says:

    I especially love point # 5…the treasure of quality relationships and the value they bring into our lives. Takes very little $ to cultivate those too…maybe a stamp now and then, or a little $ spent @ a coffee shop….I’m struck by the fact that, that gift is available to anyone, regardless of wealth or status. I have a good good guy friend about 12 years older than myself…took a while to get to this point, but it is deep and it is sturdy. Also am blessed with a helpmate/ wife going on 40 years this coming April. Take care. DM

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Yes, it’s definitely the most important item on the list. And, as you say, it only takes the gift of time, with such huge rewards. I have a new guideline in relationship nurturing now that I am passed 70: nurture younger friendships as well as older ones; what goes around comes around! And, DM, if you’re making any New Year’s resolutions, don’t forget the 1-mile run! I’ll donate to a charity of your choice when you reach the finish line. 😏

  6. I have never been a NY resolution maker but this certainly gets me thinking a little more in that direction. Thanks.

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