As a literature teacher, a researcher, and an avid reader, the holidays vex me. I’m not trying to offend folks, but the origins of Christmas have nothing to do with Christ and New Year used to be celebrated March 31st to ring in the spring. April Fools are people who showed up for the party after the Catholic Church created the Gregorian calendar in 1582 officially changing the first of the year to January 1st. No big deal, but know your historical references before you preach to people.

Personally, I like the idea of celebrating spring as the beginning of the new year. Snow in most places is melting, plants are greening, and baby animals are arriving. January is cold. February is colder. It irks me to think about a new start when everything is frozen in place. Everywhere you turn, people are creating lists of the past year. Folks talk about resolutions for the future. Best of lists, worst of lists, and memorable moments abound in the media. It’s inescapable.

ankleTwo years ago, The Beard and I agreed I would end my teaching career to write full time. We had concerns. We made pro and con lists. We moved forward with the trepidation all major life change brings. The last two years, almost in response to our decision, provided a roller coaster of ups and downs. We’ve had teenage health crisis, teenage drama, a graduation, and devastating weather created house crisis which in turn led to my own health crisis.

Yes, I’ve been writing, albeit less than I imagined.

Running around New Year’s Eve, I couldn’t escape the nostalgia surrounding the false end of the year. In the same way I worked on avoiding the pre-Christmas panic, I thought I’d have to mindfully work at letting the hubbub wash over me like water. Funny enough, my anxiety was unfounded. I’ve floated through the build up and the holiday without a moment of hesitation, doubt or regret.

Sure, I’d like to have avoided breaking my ankle, but I’m back on my feet. I’m running again. I’m working out.
The teenagers have stumbled and tripped up the last year, but I hope they’ve learned their lesson and are moving on.
We’ve definitely felt the pinch on our budget without a consistent, second income, but we have a roof over our head, dogs under foot, and cats on the countertops.

I’m three-quarters of the way through the second book. I have five other books in the works. I’ve had a short story published. I’ve taught a few workshops and look forward to teaching more. The Beard, while driving me a bit crazy on his vacation, has been hard at work building our media platform, growing our audience and developing relationships with other authors and new readers. Hell, I’ve hit 150 likes on my frozen back porchFacebook page.

Despite the 25 degree below zero temperatures, I took a deep breath recognizing the absence of doubt and regret within me. I’m buoyant with gratitude for the life The Beard and I share. I’m light-hearted and joyful with the reality I’m living my passion as a writer. I’m giddy with the possibility and the promise of the next twelve months.

I hope for you the same. Thanks for partaking in the adventure along with me.