What does it mean for a year to be new? Do we reflect on the past and celebrate the future? Do we make New Year's resolutions? I chose to embrace the words of the U.S. Poet Laureate, Joy Harlo.
"I like to think of a new year being possible at any moment, as every moment is a kind of doorway."
This past year has been a bag of mixed blessings for all of us, and hopefully your families are healthy and safe. One of the 2021 highlights for me was signing on with Level Best Books, an award-winning publisher of crime, mystery and thriller fiction. I’m right at home with them. My editor, Harriette Sackler asked me to write an essay about “Resolutions” for their newsletter, and I would like to share my thoughts with you.
As 2021 draws to a close, it’s time for us to reflect on where we’ve been this year, and where we’re going in 2022. It’s time to make the dreaded “New Year’s Resolutions,” where we make promises to ourselves about improving our lives in the coming year.
I never make resolutions. They’re too much pressure. I have enough going on in my life that I don’t need to add breaking a promise to myself to the agenda.
However, I make a list of goals for the upcoming year, consisting of about a half-dozen tangible, somewhat achievable, tasks. I pin the list on my office’s bulletin board, so I can check off each entry as it’s accomplished. For example, in 2021, I decided to learn how to make pie dough, French Macarons and croissants. Thanks to virtual baking classes from Ann Arbor, Cleveland and Paris, I checked off my baking goals. My pie dough and croissants were so-so, but the Macarons were the terrific!
My list also contained items that weren’t so trivial, and some that were beyond my control. The latter were more like wishes, really. The most important one being to find a new home for my latest manuscript, Hooker Avenue
. Well, here I am with Level Best Books, so I guess wishes do come true. That accomplishment deserves a “heart” rather than check mark.
Some items, like selling a rental property in South Carolina, and reviving a summer film series sponsored by our family foundation, will spill over into 2022, but no pressure. I’ll get them done. By the way, my lists go back to 2009!
As you can see, my items are not Oprah’s “Ah-Hah!” revelations about being in the moment or being a better person. Or living a healthier lifestyle by eating more plant-based meals. Those are lifetime goals, which require more than one trip around the sun. And they should be “givens,” not “resolutions.”
As for 2022, my list is already up on the bulletin board. Some items address the April pub date and promotion of Hooker Avenue
, sitting down to write my next novel, the TBR for my Booktrib.com book reviews, and selling that house in South Carolina. Maybe if we finally get COVID-19 under control, trips to see the Aurora Borealis and to attend Malice Domestic will miraculously appear there!
Whatever you call them, it’s motivating to strive to achieve something. The goal can be easy or hard, like going back to the gym, or completing your manuscript, or creating a newsletter, or learning to paint, or organizing our family photos, or volunteering at your favorite charity. I discovered that sometimes, it’s the journey that’s the most fun, and as a bonus, I get to check off the entry.
Setting goals gives me something to look forward to, and with that in mind, I hope your lives are filled with happy “counter-resolutions” in 2022.
Happy Holidays to all.
Happy New Year to you all, and let's throw open lots of doors in 2022.