Tag Archives: New Year

Hereby Resolve

Hello & Happy New Year! I trust everyone has been well and had a fine holiday season (including all holidays that fall during this time of year, and not a dis to Christmas, the holiday that I celebrate). I have been absent for what turned out to be a long mentally fallow period. I thought quite a bit about creativity during this period, but wasn’t able to rub enough coherent thoughts together to put into a single meaningful post.

 

New Year being a traditional time for reflection, I think that I have a cohesive theme for this post, you can let me know if you agree.

 

Looking back a bit, I have previously explained my stance on Resolutions so no need to reiterate. Last year, a columnist that I particularly appreciate wrote about a different concept that has more meaning to me. She, Mary Schmich, wrote about selecting a word to represent the year. (I took time from completing this post to see if I could find her column but have decided that turned into a side-track better left alone.)

 

Last year I chose the word experience. I wanted it to mean having new experiences. I wanted to use the word to prompt myself into getting out and trying new things. Well, it didn’t work out that way. However it wasn’t a total bust as a word choice. I experienced moments with family, including trips to visit more distant relatives. I experienced moments with friends. Moments of quiet reflection were mixed into my experiences in 2015.

 

Then there is acquired experience. I learned new things at work and brushed up exisiting knowledge on other things like implementation of a new program and field mapping to integrate systems. Creatively, I might not have been writing but I did practice photography and a little sewing. I appreciated the art and culture of Ireland when I took myself to the Art Institute of Chicago for a day.

 

Mostly normal experiences for a year, but I was more aware because of my chosen word. And that makes me feel good about the year just passed – particularly when I look at all the should’ve and could’ve and didn’t lists… Which will always exist.

 

Now the word for this year, which I have picked with less deliberation than last year’s. This was a more intuitive choice. Joy. Usually we don’t think about joy except when we are singing about it at Christmastime. But joy is never that far away, as I learned from my mom. It can even be found in small doses, lurking nearby the most awful things. Waiting to be discovered and relished.

 

I hope that your year is full of experiences worthy of note and joy.

12-4

 

© 2016 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

Catching Up, Keeping Up, Staying Ahead of Things

A New Year starts a fresh calendar, but the slate isn’t wiped entirely clean.  There is much that gets carried over, all of the open tasks on your lists – wherever you keep them.  And snow.  We are having a much snowier winter than last year here in the Midwest and perhaps even snowier than average.

 

Whatever you thought you might do on a given day, show removal gets added in – almost every day of this New Year.  This also means adding in longer travel times, altered routes, changes in plans.  Instead of ticking something off of the endless lists, snow might mean moving it back days or weeks so that it lurks undone instead of smartly checked off.  Harder to catch up, keep up or stay ahead.

 

In our house this year, it is my son who is taking point on snow removal here and for an older neighbor.  He is both happy to help her out and weary that it has been so frequent.  Snow and cold make me want to hibernate.  I am happy to live in modern times with central heating, wicking fabrics, and the internet.

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But home isn’t entirely solace and a cozy den from the cold.  I have once again neglected to pour treatments down the drain regularly so that the main drain that is meant to efficiently and silently whisk used water from our house is calling attention to itself.  I haven’t ever had this problem with any previous house so I can’t help but wonder if there is a design flaw in this particular drain layout – an awkward spot that narrows too quickly or bends too sharply and allows for difficulties if not given regular attention.

 

A few years ago, at great expense, I discovered that collusion between the long ago builder and some housing inspector allowed for the brilliant installation of heavy coated cardboard – called Orangeburg pipe, I believe – as the piping which connected all the houses in my neighborhood to the city sewer.  Not surprisingly, this pipe fails to stand the test of time.  The pipe for my house had lasted amazingly well, the house being in its 40th decade.  Lucky me, I was the lottery winner with a prize to pay out and new pipe to dig and lay out.  With the bonus of a messed up front lawn for a year as things settled and grass reestablished itself.

 

Sometimes I feel like a maintenance person with a push broom.  Push this personal thing along, push that household thing along, push this professional thing along.  Go back to the beginning and start again.  Replace the broom with a shovel and push that snow out of the way.

 

As thankful as I am for modern conveniences, is it an illusion that life was simpler and therefore easier to keep up with things in past generations?

 

© 2014 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

Procrastinating Resolution Planning

Do you make New Year Resolutions?  Do you plan them, or are they usually spur of the moment ideas?  Do you make the same one every year?  Do you make progress on it?  Sorry, I don’t mean to seem like I am grilling – you have someone in your life for that, I have no doubt.  I am merely curious, really.

public domain image

public domain image

I remember in my childhood that we spent plenty of time at the dinner table talking about New Year Resolutions this time of year.  My mom would be captured by the idea of renewal and self-improvement on a mass scale for the first few weeks of each year and want to get us involved.  I don’t remember any of the actual resolutions that any of us made, of course.  The resolutions themselves were rather secondary to the intrigue of so many people embarking on new plans at the same time.

This was of course long before today’s media fascination, or should I say obsession, with Resolutions.  Maybe the media has just picked up on mom’s drum beat.

Dad was the list maker, and the head down, plow forward, get your chores done before fun kind of person.  He didn’t want to talk about getting things done, he wanted to get to it.  I’m pretty sure he mostly just listened to these conversations about resolutions.

I stopped making resolutions when I started to realize the repetitiveness involved and how few resolutions are actually acted upon.  I had a friend resolve last year to sparkle – I do hope that she came through on that one.  And I have a couple of other friends who have made big changes like healthier lifestyles and I admire their success.

It isn’t that I don’t have any need to improve aspects of my life, just that I don’t use resolutions to create progress on those fronts.  I have plenty of room for improvement.  I regularly resolve to keep on top of things, particularly finding ways to get myself to do the ones that I don’t like.  I just don’t do it around New Year with a capital R.

“We will open the book.  Its pages are blank.  We are going to put words on them ourselves.  The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”

~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce

© 2014 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

Short Term Planning

public domain image

public domain image

I know this is the time of year to hatch grand ideas, named Resolutions, not a time to be thinking small.  Well, the fellow who normally cuts my hair was stricken with pneumonia right before Christmas and my haircut appointment and while I do hope that he is ok, this leaves me with a shaggy dilemma.

 

I can’t remember the last time that I felt truly pleased about my hair – the style, the color – and I am the kind of person who only pays marginal attention to any sort of style.  I do understand that appearance it important because it is part of people’s perception of a person.  And I can appreciate when someone else looks well put together, I just have a hard time figuring out how they managed the effect.

 

Anyway, my need to resolve my overgrown locks has me thinking about short term planning at this almost New Year stage.  It often seems as if we just do whatever is in front of us.  Get it done, move to the next thing, get it done, move to the next thing.  Periodically check the list, if you keep one, to make sure things aren’t missed.

 

My sister, brother, sister-in-law and I went to the grocery store the weekend before Christmas.  Life has been a bit hectic so while we had made plans to be together for the holiday, those plans hadn’t gotten specific enough to cover little things like food.  We put together a menu plan before we got in the car and only my sister thought to write it all down.  She had a handful of lists, actually, including general things that she needed for her household since she was hosting.

 

It was fun to go to the store together, despite the number of other shoppers.  It was out of the norm, and I couldn’t help but remember back on our childhood shopping trips plus other shared shopping experiences over the years that occurred during other family gathering times.  But it was haphazard with different members of our team wandering off in search of this or that and only my sister keeping track of the items that had made it onto our list.

 

We had quite tasty meals, with shared cooking responsibilities and shared clean up, too.  Perhaps it would have benefitted from more rigorous pre-planning – it certainly helped that we have had enough previous family gatherings that parts could be done without much discussion.  It would probably have been rather a disaster for a group of unfamiliar people.

 

I’m going to keep thinking about short term planning while I find someplace to get a haircut.  I’d love to know your thoughts on planning – short, long, or resolution type.

 

© 2013 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

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