Friday, December 21, 2012

Laying the Groundwork for a Good Year

Even though we're officially on the holiday home stretch, there are a few other positive things happening in my life that have nothing to do with the festivities, but everything to do with paving the way for a good year ahead.

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For starters, back in November my sister-in-law, Amelia, invited me to join her in observing One Hundred Days of Real Food. Although the stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas is perhaps not the ideal time to launch a new health food regimen, we've done pretty well on the days where we weren't attending holiday parties. Now we're gearing up for January 1st and hoping to complete the full 100 days, start to finish. Mostly these past few weeks have been helpful to take stock of my family's usual eating habits (i.e. white flour and sugar in every imaginable combination) and begin introducing more whole foods. Elisabeth likes to pretend she's never met vegetables before and is in some kind of shock induced state at being offered carrot sticks instead of goldfish at snack time, but everyone else appears game. The main thing is that I love the fresh start of a new year, I love the romance of trying harder, getting healthier and generally doing better, and so Christmas time in some ways feels like the very best time to begin laying plans.

Another success has arrived in the form of a cleaner, more organized house. I wrote about becoming a minimalist a couple of weeks ago, and I'm pleased to report that already my efforts are paying off. Although my family is slightly appalled by the sheer amount of "things" we've donated to Goodwill, and my kids have taken to "hiding" their stuff from me, overall we are feeling more organized by the day. Again, maybe a weird time of year to get rid of the junk drawer, but the results are directly influencing my own personal joy this season.

The final area of my life that is witnessing a small kind of comeback is my writing life. Most weeks it feels like  I've wrestled a giant just to find time to transfer the things I've been thinking about during the week into coherent blog posts. I haven't touched my manuscript or other projects since June, and yet lately those invisible friends have come knocking once again. One of the delightfully strange side effects of writing stories is that every once in awhile, like late at night when you're falling asleep or while you're driving, the people in your stories will begin to talk, and the more they talk the more you get to know them, and sooner or later you feel compelled to write the conversations down. So yes, what I'm saying is that after months and months of radio silence, my fictional friends have begun to talk to me again. It's official. I'm hearing voices. And the very possibility of revisiting old projects and launching new ones has me all excited about 2013.

I haven't made it so far as to set down concrete goals, and as a mother of four young children I've learned to be really flexible with the goals I do set, but it feels great to be thinking in the direction of next year. 2013. A fresh start. The possibilities are endless!

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