Shifting to the New **plus a giveaway**

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.

50 Thoughts

  1. Julie, you made some really healthy shifts – I saw that when I saw you in October – but I didn’t know dance workouts were part of it. I totally approve. I wanted to shift into dancing every day this year, because I love it so much. I’ve stuck to it so far, and now I think I’ll be dancing with Shaun along with you – thank you!

  2. I wish I could dance like no one is watching. I did that a few years ago and ended up at the hospital in agony on heavy duty drugs. I hate my back. It keeps me from doing so many things that I would like to do. But one thing I can do is go on a mystery train dinner next week. My husband got us tickets for my Christmas present. Back in 2020 I was going to go with a group with Duffy Brown but every one knowns what happened. My husband remembered. It’s in Ft Myers and it’s only about 30 miles from us. I can’t wait.

  3. I’m trying to eat healthier to lose some weight I gained after retirement and the pandemic. Adding in some low impact cardio and getting out of the house more. I’ll still be reading, and hope to beat my 2021 total of 267.

  4. It’s amazing what a few changes in life habits can make to your physical, mental, and spiritual health. Congratulations, Julie!

  5. I too have quite the yarn stash and I’ve been really good about not buying more until I get through what I have. I admit I will probably have to bend that rule at some point and buy a little to match up with what I already have, since there’s a couple projects I think I’ll need more for.
    I’m also trying really hard to tackle my TBR pile. I have no illusions about my lack of self control on books however. Since my mom and I read a lot of the same books, and trade back and forth anyway, we recently went through and pulled books that we both had the same one and donated the spare. We had a big box we were able to take to the used bookstore and now there’s room for more books! There’s a library sale coming up in two weeks….

  6. Love your new health habits! I think your dancing might be like zumba? I take zumba classes once a week and walk 3 miles most days, and those changes have helped tremendously. A big change I plan to make this year is to reduce my online time, it really is like an addiction!

  7. As I have “matured” into senior citizen status, life has changed (retirement, death of loved ones) and Covid, I have learned that my word is FLEXIBLE. Like my mom always was, I use to think there was a specific day or order that events needed to be in. Now if the wash doesn’t get done on Monday – then there’s Tuesday or when there’s time as long as no one is out of underwear.

    I’ve been trying to find some pain relief for some time. I’m not a big pill pooper and sure don’t like medicine that makes me feel less than 100% me. In January, after going through the trial period in November and December required by insurance, I’ve finally been able to get the first procedure on my spine to help greatly with my pain. Next week I have the second procedure with hopefully even more results. It’s surprising how pain affects every aspect of your day to day life. So in 2022, I’m hoping to be more mobile which will greatly affect where we can go and how often as well as making normal chores bearable instead of dreaded. With mobility will also help in weight loss which I want so desperately to do – again.

    So changed are matter of making up your mind to do. It’s when you say “ok enough is enough – DO IT”. When we moved 5 years ago, we downsized which meant getting rid of a lot of stuff. However, it’s amazing how stuff accumulates even when you swore it wouldn’t happen. So 2022 is to pretend we are downsizing again mentally and going back through things to de-clutter unused items, things we don’t use any more or just trash like old magazines. I’ve started on it already and know because of physical issues that it will be a slow go (more so than 5 years ago when we were energized by moving to a new home) that it will be a slow go, but hey with all the stay at home time, I’ve got plenty of time.

    Once was only a meat and potato person – very picky eater, but overcame that with a 37 day stay in the hospital when I was 25. Eventually you get hungry and start trying things. In 2022, I want to experiment even more with new foods, new recipes and see what else we can find that is can’t live without yummy.

    May we all achieve our goals for 2022 or at least make good progress on them. You don’t fail – you just have to regroup and hit it from a different angle.

    Thanks for the chance! Shared and hoping.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  8. Cheers to your accomplishments Julie! Your idea of making shifts really resonates with me. My shifts for 2022 include sticking with yoga and eating more salads. Here’s to successful shifts!

  9. JULIE: You have made several positive shifts….kudos to you!

    As for me, I thought I had my retiree “routine” figured out but since early 2020, that schedule has been in disarray. I was still able to walk a lot (mostly solo). Over 2.6 million steps walked in 2021. My 2022 goal is 3.1 million steps but I am up-and-down in my step count so far this month. I walked over 22,000 steps (17.7 km/10.1 mi) yesterday but only walked 6,000 steps on Monday-Tuesday.

    I loved to travel (internationally). LCC in San Diego March 2020 was my last trip. Days after my return, I got sick with COVID, which lasted for months. COVID brain fog also affected my ability to read. I could not focus enough to read but I was able to shift and started listening to audiobooks (non-fiction). I listened to more audiobooks in 2021 than in the previous 5 years. Although my reading is kinda coming back, my shift to listening to audiobooks will remain a fixture.

    Like others, I spent waaaay too much time on social media in 2020 and 2021. Shifting to find a better balance while still keep in contact with far-away friends is a desirable shift in 2022.

    1. 2.6 million? You inspire me, Grace!! I’ve shifted to audio books as well. Not a Covid fog, but focusing on one thing has been impossible. So listening and knitting or walking has been a great boon. I’m going to keep listening–I was a skeptic but am now a fan.

      1. JULIE: The number of steps sounds impressive but if you walk 10,000 steps/day. that’s 300,000 steps each month, so easy peasy. I am registered for both Left Coast Crime and Bouchercon, so some of my international trips may happen. Just have not booked any flights yet because….omicron and frankly our airlines don’t have many scheduled flights to the US yet. Fingers crossed I will see you in person this year!

  10. I’m inspired by your changes. I’m going to try to eat better. But I don’t know about the yarn stash.

  11. Change is very hard for so many people and we often resist it. Cheers to you for moving forward. Purging, changing, rethinking and leaving last year behind is good for the brain, the body, the heart and the soul!

  12. I’ve gotten some less-than-wonderful medical news that tells me I need to get serious about exercising more and improving my diet, so that’s my focus right now. Eat more veggies, cut back on sweets, move more. I’m trying to make small changes that will stick over time. I’ll check out the exercise video you shared—thanks for that!

    1. Janet, sending you healthy vibes. I’m very sorry to say that eating more veggies, cutting back on sweets, and moving does seem to help, at least it has for me. I was hoping that I could go back to chips for lunch, but alas. Best of luck, and happy new year.

  13. Congrats on the progress you are making from dancing. How fun. My hopes for this year are to exercise more, read a lot more, and cut my online time in half. It takes away from my reading! Thanks for the chance!

  14. Great shifts, Julie!

    This is an organization year for me. I tend to make multiple huge plans and then…well, that’s life. This year I have broken them into small bits. So satisfying to tick off a box!

  15. My mother had Rheumatoid Arthritis from the time she was 35 years old and her motto always was: “Move it or lose it!” She was able to continue playing the piano until her 60’s and was mobile until her death at age 75. Sadly I inherited the arthritis in a few joints, but nothing like her condition. I remind myself that moving is a good thing. And, sometimes it helps to be a “dinosaur” and not ever established a real social media presence. One thing that has been great about the pandemic is that we are cooking at home exclusively and making some really great meals. I would not say we are at the chef stage, but we are pretty good home cooks now. Best of luck with all of your “shifts” Julie! And, as always…Happy Writing!

  16. I should be working on some now, but it isn’t happening. I need a jump start to some new paths, including getting healthier. The problem is, I don’t have much free time in my schedule, so doing one thing new here means I have to give up something else there, and I’m trying to figure out what that might be. That’s my biggest issue. I don’t want to give anything up.

  17. Without knowing it I was preparing for a pandemic when I retired just over four years ago. I was able then to better follow my healthy diet, preparing nearly all meals at home, read more, wrote in my journal, and then visited museums, and for exercise signed up for Pure Barre classes, and went for very long walks. Besides reading and writing I craft (handsew and embroider) fabric dolls. Most of this I continued in 2020, of course at home for a lot of the time, replacing Pure Barre with flamenco dance exercises at home, remembered from classes taken more than 20 years ago! In 2021 when art galleries and museums, and their cafés, opened, I was in heaven, once I was vaccinated. This year, 2022, I don’t want to set resolutions set in stone as we wait to see how the pandemic evolves but just continue doing what I love to do, and maybe craft a little more!

  18. Hi, all that you are doing sounds great and all for the better, good for you. This year I am doing alot of decluttering, and organizing, it is all way overdue but it’s not going to get done by itself , so I am at it. Thank you so much for your inspiring post. Have a great rest of the week and stay safe.

  19. Congratulations on the “shifts” you’ve made. I really have to psych myself up so I’m ready to make changes in my routine. One thing I would like to change is spending too much time on social media. I guess it’s one thing I should tackle this year.

  20. I used to do Zumba once a week but the classes switched to in person and I don’t feel comfortable going. There’s a Tai Chi class on Facebook that I used to do so I want to get back to doing that – I just need to make the time. I’m also trying to eat more vegetarian or vegetable heavy dinners. I’m shooting for one a week since I have to get the other people I cook for onboard.

  21. I am working on a few things. I have picked a word this year Kindness. I can be nice and sweet to others (well..maybe not the spam callers. I usually just hang up on them.). I may have to think and work on that one. Anyway, I have a problem of being kind to myself. That is what I want to work on this year.

    We live in my childhood home. My Mom is now living in a nursing home. We have 56 years of living to go through to decide what to keep and what not to keep. We had planned on working on it last year. It was started, but my husband and I are both disabled. We do a bit and then have to stop. It is taking a lot of time.

    I have also set a reading goal of 40 books this year. I did not meet my goal last year. Thank you for the opportunity to share.

  22. Julie, thank you so much for this thoughtful and inspiring post. Wishing you success and happiness with your Shifts. This year, I’m adding measurements to my professional goals. I’ve scheduled quarterly meetings with myself so I know whether I’m on the right path of if I need to make some adjustments.

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