One of my (few) New Year’s resolutions is to write more and read less: more specifically, to write every day, and to spend way less time reading online. Although I’ve bypassed the black hole of YouTube addiction (by watching videos practically never), I must confess how often, given a blank chunk of free time, I squander it on indiscriminate and unsatisfying computer reading. It starts innocuously enough, with a cup of tea and a perusal of the news (world, regional, and, sadly, the non-news of Celebrityville), the weather (where I live, and all the places my family members live – the need to know is in my gene pool), then on to my default online magazine, the one I love to hate, and from there… to wherever links and my random queries take me. I learn a lot about movies I’ll never see, books I’ll never read, and people I never want to meet. I’m a sucker for columns about practically anything that include pithy comments sections. (For those with similar proclivities, let me steer you clear right now of Slate’s “Dear Prudence” column: each edition spawns upwards of 2.5 K comments — and that’s considered a slow day). Of course, I never read ALL the comments – but it’s the “just one or two more” syndrome that can easily swallow an hour in one indulgent, and often pointless, session.
Meanwhile, the world turns, time races into 2015 – 2015!! – and I feel the weight of More Important Things procrastinated. Some of those things are people I do want to meet, books I want to write, and the ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ series I want to complete.
As soon as I’ve put in my requisite writing time today (yes, I’ve made a work-and-rewards deal with myself), I’m going to Google “people who hate New Year’s” and see if there’s another name for people like me.* It’s true: I’m a hater. I went to bed early this New Year’s Eve, as I am wont to do, and lay awake trying to trace the roots of my disenchantment.
I thought about a few drunk and regrettable New Year’s Eves, many lifetimes ago, and about two New Year’s Eves when I lost beloved dogs (one to poisoning and one to theft), and about a -40 degree New Year’s Day in the late 70s when I flew into Edmonton with my dying fiancé. I thought about other wintry new years when I dreaded the end of Christmas lights and the beginning of the long, dark trudge to a belated spring. (Those of you north of the 53rd parallel know what I mean). I thought about my many years in the ministry, when New Year’s meant a two-day compulsory workshop, along with the setting of far too many personal and group goals. I thought about a New Year’s poem I wrote at the end of 2011 called “Year of the Cloud”, and how 2012 turned out not to be the year of change I desperately wanted. (Thankfully, things did turn around by 2014.) But it’s not just about the memories.
Lately it’s been more about another year fast upon us and all too soon. It seems I just finished choosing this year’s wall calendar (granted, I always wait till late January for the markdowns), and December’s over. The feelings this evokes are like dreams I have where I’m still young, maybe in my twenties – till suddenly realize I’m not that young girl anymore, and I race through the decades to meet my current age in disbelief. And wake up wondering, truly, where the all that time went.
So maybe those are enough good reasons to hate the season.
Along with my seasonal loathing, I’ve tended to avoid making resolutions; being in this melancholy mindset is not conducive to setting cheery goals. But 2014 was a much better year. I have lots to be thankful for – and I am. So this year I’m making some gentle resolutions — and hoping that my simple reading and writing goals will be good for my soul.
Another thing I’ve thought about is my reluctance in getting back to the blog. I know it’s been a healing endeavour for me and for many readers. Part of my reluctance is due to timing: I made a big move in the midst of writing the series (see previous blog entry, House Haunters: Kelowna Edition, for details), and it sprung me into an entirely different mindset. But now we’re mostly settled, and, like last year’s taxes, the unfinished must be faced.
Another part lies in where I left off writing. The next entry is all about grief work and healing, and it’s a weighty subject – perhaps the weightiest – for me to unpack and revisit. Grief has shadowed much of my life, and now that I’ve finally learned to work through it, I’m reluctant to go back, even just to record the journey out. But I know it’s important for me to share what I’ve learned and finish what I started. So I’m recommitting.
Please pray for me to complete the whole series, heart and soul, in the upcoming weeks. I also want to wish every one of you a fulfilling, joy-filled, productive new year. It’s January 3rd as I write this, so I’m saying it unprompted and ungrudgingly:
Happy New Year!!
I deeply appreciate your readership and comments.
* About that Googling… It turns out there are lots of us; we’ve been dubbed “refuseniks”, but I think someone ought to come up with a better name (less political?) and start a club. Maybe we could all celebrate on March 21st – if that’s not too pagan. And without the silly hats, please.
Happy New Year Marilyn!
I like your plans for next year, I am going to join you in some of them (less reading) and sure I am in “new year haters club” 🙂
Yay! My first club member! We get to make all the rules!!
I do hope you finish your blog. It has been extremely helpful and healing for me. It helps me to know that I am not ungodly for having feelings. I am also in need to know how you got over your grief. 2014 has been probably the worse year of my life next to loosing my mom at a young age. And a lot of the grief that I am experiencing has to do with believing so much in the church and it’s promises and then feeling so duped when my husband’s actions proved otherwise. I am praying that God will lead you to share what ever you feel you need to share without draining you. Thank you for your blog.
Shanda, I hope and pray that my writing will somehow help you heal. I’m sorry to hear that this was such a hard year for you. I’m going to post my “Year of the Cloud” poem for you in the next few days in hopes it will bring a smile to your face. Thanks for sharing your heart.
Happy New Year Marilyn! Your blog has really helped me in so many ways. I am looking forward to you completing some of the unfinished tasks for 2014. I also want to know how you were able to deal with grief. 2014 was really challenging for us, we lost two family members. It has not been easy.
I’s sorry to hear about your losses, Helen — I was aware of only one of them . I will have you on my heart as I write. You are so dear to us, and we are very proud of all you’ve done in your life since we first met you — way back in 1989. Much love being sent your way.
Marilyn, I was perusing my “Favorites” and saw your blog and clicked on hoping you would have updated it. And, voila, you had. I’m too old to go out on NY Eve but I look forward to watching the Rose Parade the next day wrapped up in a warm blanket. I don’t make resolutions, instead, I follow the advice of one writer who stated that she makes a list of 10 things she’s proud of that she accomplished during the year. It could be anything from renewing old friendships to submitting reviews to Trip Advisor. It makes the year seem purposeful. You have a gift for writing and I look forward to what you’ll write this year. My best to you and your family.
…was so grateful to read your post. Made me feel like I was sharing a coffee with an empathetic soul. This new year is starting out a bit bumpy…and the thick blanket of snow makes me want to bury my head in it.
The post that you need to write…is percolating. Think of it as the tilling of old soil: a necessary task…and then spring will be here! You’ll be able to embrace Spring…like the opening of a new book!
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Thanks for your comments, and sorry to hear about the bumpy beginning….I hope things are already turning around. That was QUITE the snowfall, wasn’t it? And at least we escaped the freezing rain that was supposed to follow. Let me know when you want to share a real coffee time!
Happy writing and New Year! As a person who has lived “flying by the seat of my pants” I’m trying to become a bit more of a focused goal-setter but every word resonated very strongly. All the best to you and Henry! Joanne and I hope we get to visit with you in 2015!
Love to read the comments!! Personally I like to go to bed early on NY’s Eve so I can fully enjoy one of the few holidays I get during the year. It was a day filled with books, reading, studying and catching up with friends. I’ve been inspired by you and returned to my own daily writing and we’ll see what God does with that. I will say that some of my favorite NY’s Eve memories are of ringing it in at your Ashmont place with our Dorchester friends. That was so much better than any dance party… sorry it was a crazy time for you in ministry but ever so grateful that you and Henry never passed that along. I feel like I was allowed to fall in love with God and the Word and really grow strong and enjoy my life!
Sounds like you did the day right. I can’t remember the NYEs at Ashmont, but I’m sure they were wonderful. That was several years before things started to get ‘over-managed’ in the ministry. In fact, most of my Boston memories are great — among them, my friendship with you and your mom. Thanks for your encouragement!
Hello Marilyn, very courageous of you to have committed publicly to finishing your Turn series. You are so gifted and so honest, love to you and Henry both.