The new beginnings of January. The time to start afresh, to set resolutions, to make goals and step boldly into the bright shiny future.
Or, you know, don’t.
As 2018 closed, our family had to say a sudden goodbye to our beloved Misty. She is the cat I called “sweet but somewhat dimwitted” in my About page. At the tender and unexplainable age of 8, Misty suffered from complete kidney failure and died in my arms on December 29th. We are still trying to process the reality of her loss, even as we engage in the daily discussion of how and when to replace the cat-sized hole in our hearts.
As 2018 closed, friends were in the hospital, others were moving away, neighbors were struggling with devastating diagnosis, the government was partially shut down, our leaders were shifting while our problems grow in direct proportion to our animosity towards one another. Someone make it STOP, I want to yell, but there is no answer. Just a large vet bill and a litter box no one can bring themselves to empty.
And yet, 2018 ended and 2019 began. We hung up new calendars in our house and packed away the Christmas ornaments. Despite everything, a small glimmer of hope dawns with the new year. A burst of optimism seeps out between the cracks and the tears. This is the year, we say; this year we will lose the weight, accomplish the goal, be a better person, make the changes we keep talking about.
Will it? I don’t know. 2018 was a good year for my writing. I now have three manuscripts in various stages of completion and am getting ready to pursue publication in some form. I enlarged my writing community, connecting with many other writers in Austin and was a founding member of the Central Texas Chapter of the Historical Novel Society. We did not travel last year, spending most of our money on medical and vet bills, but we had enough to cover them without debt, so that’s a victory.
As I begin to make goals for 2019, writing is at the top of the list. May this be the year my writing finds a home out in the world. May this be the year sanity and civility return to our country. May this be the year we reach out to others with compassion and friendship and a helping hand. May this be a year of hellos and not goodbyes. May your year be blessed, and may you be a blessing to others.