By Julie, warm and cozy in Somerville
Shifts go beyond goals. They are about making changes that alter the path you’re on. They may or may not be permanent. Like all of life, they require constant reevaluation and course corrections.
For whatever reason, I already felt that 2020 was going to be year of shifts. New decade and all that. But I, like everyone, had no idea.
At the beginning of the pandemic, in 2020, I’d given up drinking for Lent. I’m a lapsed Catholic, but some things stay with me, including reflection and change during the forty (forty-six including Sundays) days before Easter. Anyway, I’d given it up, and decided to stick with it throughout the pandemic. This may not be a forever choice, but it’s working for now.
I also had a goal of getting stronger, and started working out at least three days a week. Mid 2021, I wanted to lose the weight I’d put on, and decided to focus on getting healthy. I upped the workouts, changed eating habits, you know the drill. Instead of temporary changes, I shifted into making them part of my life. It’s working. And It’s fun. My recent workouts have been “Let’s Get Up” with Shaun T. It’s a hoot, and a great workout. Imagine me doing this in my living room six days a week. The cats run.
Then there are the shifts in my writing life. I’m still figuring those out. I’ve been wrestling with writing something different from my series. Towards that end, I’ve been reading (and rereading) some craft books, and really thinking about how to “up” my writing game. I’m doing some research, and enjoying exercising my brain. My tenth book (The Plot Thickets) will be out this fall, so it’s a good time to reflect and make shifts. What will my next ten books be?
In sorting my considerable yarn stash (anyone else a yarn junkie?) I’ve committed to projects for the nieces and nephews AND not buying more yarn till they’re done. They’ll be warm, since scarves, hats and afghans are my current go-tos. Mindless enough, but with some challenge. I’m also doing a “stitch a day” embroidery project to teach me more techniques and help me get better at basics like French knots and chain stitches. The shift toward making my knitting part of a daily meditation has been very rewarding.
Since March 2020, out with the old has been sort of my theme. Like many others, it’s also been a time of reflection. The question for 2022 is, what’s the new? I don’t do new year’s resolutions anymore. Instead, I try and make shifts. What does healthier look like? How can I be a better writer? What brings me joy? How can I best take care of the people I love, and myself? Like so many others, I’ve been navigating some significant challenges and searching for elusive balance. I’ve come to realize a lot of it is about choices.
So here are some of my shifts for 2022:
- Continue my dates with Shaun T. A half hour of dancing a day has done me a lot of good both physically and mentally.
- Refill my creative well. That means writing, knitting, going to museums. I may even sign up for an online painting class or two.
- Be comfortable with down time. I work from home, and tend to keep going or keep busy. My mind whirs with worry when I’m quiet. One shift is working on that. The knitting helps. So does reading, or taking a walk.
- Be better about my daily reading, email, and social media time. I tend to be online ALL THE TIME. It isn’t good for me on so many levels. So how can I be better about not automatically checking my phone, or jumping on social media, or going down dark rabbit holes? This may be the toughest shift, but the most important.
I love my life, but need some of these shifts in order to bring in the new. Embracing joy, and figuring out how to do that, will be the biggest shift. But since life is not a dress rehearsal; it’s show time. Understanding that on a cellular level is the most important thing I can do this year.
Readers, how do you make changes in your life? Working on any now? Let’s celebrate the new year by me giving away a book to three commenters.