A New Year Begins…

With the approaching of a new year, we all begin making resolutions or at least dreaming about what might be.

Blank Notebook

“Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.”

― Brad Paisley

I love this quote not only because it pulls at my writer’s sensibilities, but also because it’s true. Obviously we are not always in control, and lots of what will happen may not be of our own doing. However, we can at least strive at doing the best we can.

Every year I have all these dreams of what I will accomplish or at least try. Like with most people, those things normally end up at least partially undone. As I get older though, I developed this sense of hurry, of urgency that was not there when I was younger. I’ve always been patient, willing to wait, never rushing. But for the past three or four years, I’ve had this need for speed. It’s almost as if, as my life draws near to the end, I realize I still have so much to do and possibly not enough time to do it. When you’re young, time just drags and old age is a very distant and abstract idea. When you get to my age, the end is suddenly very concrete. Most of the adults of your childhood are either dead or dying, your heroes, your idols, everything is dwindling down and you know that you’ll go sometime next.

Relaxed

I had always wanted to be a published writer. I had a knack for writing and did it constantly since very early on. My dream finally came true four years ago. Nine books later, I still find it hard to believe it actually happened. My next “dream” is to actually be mildly successful at it. It’s a very slow process and I get antsy. I don’t have a life in front of me to wait patiently for the world to discover my stories, I need it now. Talk about self-induced anxieties, lol.

Those of you who are in the last quarter or so of your life, getting ready to become silver foxes, do you feel this way too? This anxiety to accomplish a thousand things all at the same time and frustration of not having enough time for it? Or energy? It has gotten so bad for me, I avoid things I used to love (and still do) and that helped me relax so that I have time to finish that story, or work on that ad, or interact with my audience. It’s exhausting.

So for this new year I still want to accomplish all of that, but I also want to learn to relax, to allow myself those moments of blissful peace when there is nothing to do, no place to go.

What are your plans for the new year?

Sparkler

Into a New Year

New Year letter

You have no idea how many times I have started this blog only to discard it all. Writing an end-of-the-year reflection is not easy, it turns out. A lot has happened this year. It was not the best year of my life, but there were some pearls hidden in the muck of 2015.

I will start with the bad because I want to finish this piece with something positive. I’ve always prided myself of being an optimist, the kind of person who always looks for the silver lining and hangs on to it for dear life. It’s the only way I know of surviving some of the curve balls life throws at you. The year that is now ending has really tested me and I admit that there has been too many times lately when I have trouble finding that little gold nugget and hanging on to it.

As I get older I realize that with every passing year both my family and my husband’s will lose more and more loved ones. It’s the natural circle of life, but knowing this doesn’t make it any easier. This year my husband lost his two parents within the space of six months and I lost two wonderful in-laws. Hard to believe they won’t be here anymore. On my side of the family, I lost one of my aunts. She was always a constant presence in my life growing up.  She is sorely missed. I also lost my sweet dachshund, Shorty. He was so much more than a dog. He was family and my best friend, the one who was always there for me, no questions asked. I miss him every day.

The world itself seems to have lost its way with all the senseless acts of violence here and abroad. Sometimes it looks like we have regressed a few hundred years instead of advancing into the future. How do you wrap your head around what happened in Paris? Or San Bernadino? Or Turkey? How do you reconcile the images of Syrian refugees risking their lives to desperately flee the daily horrors of their own regime? Every morning, when I tune in to my favorite classical music radio station the first thing out of the news reporter’s mouth always starts with “this many people were killed today in an attack somewhere in the world.” Bad news have overwhelmed most of us this year and dragged our spirits down.

On a more personal note, and after twelve years of relative bliss, my work environment turned toxic this year. In a matter of a few weeks I went from waking up in the morning excited to face another day at work to having to (sometimes literally) drag myself out of bed to face another day in emotional hell. For a very calm person who always kept her cool under pressure, 2015 turned out to be the year I started having anxiety attacks at the mere mention of work. Opening a work email became the equivalent of opening Pandora’s box and my general health went down the toilet with it. I have spent more time at the doctor’s office this year than ever. There is a silver lining in this one though (even though it is not any consolation); in this hellish process, which started around Spring break and has not stopped yet, I know now who my real friends are and that it is time for me to move on with my life.

Amongst all the bad things there were some hidden gems (like the ones I just listed above). This was the year I managed to finally go visit my mom and sister. It had been three years since I had seen them. With the ever-rising prices of airplane tickets it is not easy living an ocean apart from your family. Seeing them, my nephews, my native country was bliss. While my husband basked in the sun at the beach every morning I was more than happy to just visit and catch up over a cup of espresso and a pastry.

There were some people, besides my family, who were there for me more times than I care to admit. They may not even have realized how much they were giving me by just smiling or being who they are. Thank you Kathie and Darlene, my wonderful Sippy Cup writer friends, my amazing yoga teacher Aliya, Denise, Susan, Sylvia, Doris, and Pam (your smiles, kind words, and jokes have made my life just a little brighter) and the extraordinary ladies of my Meetup group. You guys are AWESOME!

Last, but not least, this was the year I signed a publishing contract. I won’t dwell on it because I’m sure you are all tired of hearing about it by now 🙂   But needless to say I’m on cloud nine. What better way to start a new year than seeing your work come into fruition? The best thing about this though is that I am finally able to pay tribute to my father and the faith he had in me by writing under our family name, Reis.

It’s time now for you to tell me how your year went. Comment away please and have yourself an amazing new year.

Raise your glasses to 2016.

May it be the year the world finds peace and you find true happiness.

champagne2

 

 

2014

This is the time of the year when we tend to look back and examine what went right and what needs improvement. It is also the time of the year when you count your blessings. So, today I will count my blessings.

Life for me has been just slightly south of crazy for the past ten years, so the less-crazy stuff sticks out like a sore thumb out of everyday madness. There were some very cool things that happened this year (within my tiny micro-ecosystem) that I would like to record for posterity (you never know; 200 years from now someone may look at my blog and make it part of history).

I am forever grateful at the One Above for making 2014 the year when my sister finally got her chance to show how creative and successful she can be. I just hope she realizes how amazing she is and is able to take comfort in that. I love you.

My wonderful book club ladies (both clubs) who provided me with company, like mindedness, and an excuse (not to mention prodding) to read beyond what I normally would read. I have been having so much fun and I am so grateful to finally have someone I can talk to about one of the loves of my life. Thank you ladies!

What can I say about Sippy Cups and Semantics? You guys ROCK!!!! I think I have dreamed of being part of this group since I was a kid. Thanks to you I am writing again, something I had put on the back burner for a long time. I am also for the first time in 20 years actually considering going for publication.

Then, there is NaNoWriMo. I kind of stumbled on it this year thanks to the above mentioned amazing Sippy Cuppers and (I am sure I sound seriously geeky saying this) thanks to it I had the best November of my life. It was the best creative exercise of my life and provided me with a sense of accomplishment I hadn’t felt in years. It was almost like I had given birth again except this time, the baby was a novel. I learned a lot about myself during that month. I learned that I work better with a deadline above my head. I also learned that to be an effective writer (who also works full time and has a family) you do have to make some sacrifices like writing through terrible headaches or staying up way past you have turned into a pumpkin.

So, here’s for a creative year and hopes of an equally (or even better) creative new year in 2015.  Thank you to all of you who made this year a memorable one for me. Happy New Year.