Jammin on the Thirty-One — Year and Decade in Review

Tis the season for “I” centered posting. Fa-la-la-la-la reflections and plans. Heck, I even put a selfie up on Instagram, which is not something I do regularly. And it’s the first I’ve ever done without makeup.

Please forgive the navel-gazing. It’s a December 31 thing.

Allow me to start by saying THANK YOU to all of you who have read, commented, posted, and shared. I am humbled and grateful.

I haven’t submitted any writing since May, which is rough because I feel accomplishment putting things out in the world. Fly little ones! “Out of my hands” is my goal for pieces that whisper that maybe someone else needs to read them.

The decline in submissions is because I’ve been toiling away at a book and slogging through all the feelings that go with that. Largely inadequacy. Occasionally lunacy.

I did have three essays published, though, each especially personal, and was a contributor in another anthology. These pieces show growth from when I began getting published back in February 2015, (the 6th to be exact) .

In 2019, I sat down and wrote for more than 1000 hours this year, and I’m 5000 hours into my goal of the 10,000 mastery. To be honest, I don’t think one can ever master writing, but maybe after another 5,000 hours I’ll not flop around as much.

I read over 50 books this year, most of which I’ve listed over at Goodreads. The best by far were Circe, Department of Speculation, and Eternal Life.

The Sun Magazine is still by far my favorite.

The Watchmen is a must-see and was one of my favorites of the entire decade.

Let’s do talk decades, shall we, and go along with the idea that the decade starts on the zero and not the one. In the last decade, we’ve moved to a new town (which I’ll be talking about in February), had a third child, said goodbye to a beloved dog, welcomed a different beloved dog into our lives, and undergone joys, heartaches, accomplishments, and worries I could not have predicted in 2009.

I stopped teaching and started writing. I’m a better writer than I was when I started. I’ve stopped writing and sharing to be liked and chosen to write to understand and be understood.

That being said, I’ve been published 20 times in those five years. I can trace my growth as a writer and as a person in that time. I’ve sat my ass in the chair and worked hard as often as possible. I’ve gotten into a rhythm with the writing as the family rhythm has bucked and twisted. I’m learning to stay on the bronco longer and know how to fall off without terribly bruising my tush or my ego.

I co-wrote and produced an award-winning short film.

I was in five stage shows this last decade, my favorite of which was the Listen to Your Mother experience, which was life-changing and has provided me with relationships and connections I will cherish forever.

I have the draft of a book done, and I have an idea for the next one and a ghost of an idea for the one after that. It wasn’t so long ago that I was desperate for an idea for a book. Now…I’m just hoping to see all the writing I want to do completed.

I’ve parented. It’s still weird to consider myself a parent even though I’ve been at it for a minute or two. Still working on it. Kids have a profound ability to get to the root of a person’s insecurities and weakness as well as reveal giant pockets of space available for love and sacrigice. Wrong moves as a parent feel awfully eventful and I sure make a lot of them. But largely I’ve gotten them enrolled in summer camp in time, taught them basic hygiene, taught them to make a few meals, laughed with them, cried with them, and showed them how to avoid the comment section of Yahoo News, so I guess I’m doing ok enough.

I’ve been wholly imperfect but whole nonetheless.

I’ve used a lot of scented candles, eaten the good chocolate, worn the fun shoes and the nice bras. I don’t save things for special occasions anymore.

I’ve learned how to knit and am still rather terrible at it.

I’ve had five surgeries and would be ok if I should never need another.

I’ve become outspoken and active.

I’ve chosen to go where I’m wanted and drift from where I’m not. I’ve wandered down a few paths hopeful that I’m welcome, then pivoted when needed. That was harder than it sounds, but it gets easier.

I’ve reconnected and disconnected. I’m reaching out more to forge strong relationships with great people.

I’ve loved and I’ve been loved.

What’s next? As I posted on Instagram (something I didn’t do for much of the last decade), I don’t make resolutions anymore. I make plans. I have plans to finish my book. I have plans for submitting more essays and humor pieces. I have plans to sing and play more music. I have plans to play more, period. I have plans to learn and grow and make the world better. I have plans to take more pictures and make more memories. And cake. I did not have enough 2019 cake.

Tonight, I will happily kiss the same person at midnight as I did ten years ago last decade, and that’s no small thing.

I’m hopeful for this next year, which is a far cry from the dread or ennui I have felt on many New Years Eves these last ten years. Perhaps this decade of wandering has pointed me to 2020 as my home.

Happy New Year

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