2015: Nice Things, Please.

So. 2014.

For a lot of people I know – and even those I don’t – it was a good year.

Did I have any good moments? Yes, some nice ones. But I can’t say it was a good year.

My father died in February, and one of my cousins was murdered in late November. So Christmas Day was a quiet, low-key one with my mother and brother, trying our best to enjoy ourselves, but knowing we were just going through the motions, with watery eyes here, and a sob there.

To be frank, I’ve felt as if I spent most of this year forcing myself to put my best face forward in the name of moving on, despite really wanting to just withdraw and hide.

So yeah, I’m more than happy that the new year is here.

If I could, I’d start 2015 by retreating from the world for a few days to take a breather, reflect, then start again. But currently, I only have one, and — as I write this – it’s more than half over.

Life without my dad around … sucks. And although that sting of loss will continue to subside with time, it won’t ever fully go away.

But it has to go on. And I’d like to do my best to resume moving forward.

I want to feel happy this year, without it feeling forced.

For the first time in months, I’d really like to have some nice things.

Not necessarily shiny, sparkly material things in my possession (although once in a while, that would be nice). I mean, I’d like to find that spark and power within to start accomplishing or completing things I’ve either put off, or have never done, and to see results.

I would like to do things that, on occasion, even surprise myself (in the best way possible).

Here are the things I’d like to try to do:

Make a list of goals and start getting them done. Not all of them will be lofty. Some will be as simple as finally hanging up that wall clock or getting a learner’s permit. Others might involve me getting off my backside and learning something new. But my hope is that whatever I include on that list, that I complete at least one per month. If I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll knock another one or two off the list. This may work. Or it may fizzle. We’ll see how this goes.

For goodness’ sakes, start writing regularly. Late last fall, I took a brief  introduction to creative writing workshop. It was the one thing I can recall doing this year that wasn’t part of my daily routine, or done out of obligation. It was good being around people who were all at different stages in their writing, getting exercises that forced me to start using my brain again. But since then, I keep staring at the forest-green journal on my coffee, telling myself to write whatever latest thing had been happening … but doing nothing. In a recent conversation with my mom, she recalled a conversation she’d had with my younger brother, in which she referred to me as a “writer – even though she’s not really doing any of that for her job.” How can I be a writer, when I’m not doing any writing? I need to try reversing that.

Find work (or projects outside of work) that are fun and spark some sort of creativity. Every year, I say this. But from where I stand right now, I don’t know what’ll happen to me, professionally. I don’t know whether I’ll find another position within my place of employment, or if I’ll make the leap and do something completely different. But separate from all that, it would be nice to do something where I can learn how to express myself in a different way, and have a ball doing it.

Get back to travelling. Whether it’s a car ride out of the city, a flight state-side to visit family or abroad to somewhere I’ve never been, I need more changes of scenery this year. Last year, I didn’t have the finances, I didn’t want to go far and leave my mom alone, and I just didn’t have it in me to pick up and travel. But I think spending so much time so close to home has left me a bit restless. I’m sure it does a number on one’s emotional well-being.

Face-time with more/different people. I love being around folks — meeting for dinner, drinks, movies, going to social gatherings. But there are some faces I don’t get to see as often as I’d like to. If time and schedules allow, I’m going to try to rectify that.

Once in a while, take a time out. I’m sure there will be moments where I’ll be obsessed with getting things done, or perhaps overwhelmed by something. But I need to occasionally take a breather.

Keep on with my adventures in novice genealogy. I’ll happily continue with my genealogy search, providing the Internet and my relatives are willing to provide help in some way. It would be nice to get some sort of closure regarding what happened to my great-aunt Ellen. But any other historical tidbits? Yes, please.

It’s a brand-new year. I could be writing you at this time next year, in a better place, in a new job, and finally finding fulfillment. Or I could be sitting in the exact same place, about to press send on the exact same thing.

Anything can happen.

In the meantime: Happy New Year. Whether this year presents multiple blessings or multiple challenges, I hope you’ve got the strength, patience, and positive state of mind to navigate whatever lies before you.

Good luck!