Sunday, December 31, 2017

"What We Are Looking Forward to in 2018"

A few days ago I asked some people I know to share their Hopes and Dreams for the new year. Here are some of their responses. Perhaps you'll feel inspired to ask yourself the question: what are YOU looking forward to in 2018?

adapting to new surroundings, by downsizing physically and expanding mentally; expressing myself in new, more focused ways, that are yet to be discovered; seeing the second full moon of January, and thus a Blue Moon, on the 31st; reading the works of Proust for the first time; sitting quietly for hours, just thinking, and watching my cold lava lamp ever so slowly warm its globular way to acrobatic fluidity; saying a pleasant hello to that recurrent spider on the wall and, instead of trying to squish it, thanking it for eating all those invisible mites

being kind to myself (and to others too, of course); learning about winged creatures, like butterflies, dragonflies, and even dragons; completing the second full year of my new job at the university; working even harder to get out of debt; seeing what size our Westie-Labrador puppy will wind up by the time she turns 1; planning a real life get-together for my online mama friends in the spring; welcoming seasons as they once were before this weather scrambling; dreaming lucidly of those I miss and those I missed

entering retirement with clarity and grace, with energy and peace; continuing to call out my demons for a wrestle, and if they don't come, gaily running off; writing from the undergrowth, the hip, the head, and the soft heart; loving well and having that good love returned; speaking the truth as I can, even among the many falsehoods; heading out to sea, with the wind in my hair, hoping to catch sight of migrating whales; having a book published; living a healthy lifestyle; spending a week at a writers' colony; purchasing a new laptop computer

rock climbing outdoors for the first time; summiting my first Adirondack Mountains peak (and dreaming of becoming a 46er); eating last summer’s pesto from the freezer; buying more during the dime-a-book days at the Friends of the Library Book Sale; seeing my daughter choose the colleges she wants to apply to; playing Scrabble online with my dad; planting a new apricot tree in the yard; eating a ripe papaya; baking bread with dill from my garden

traveling to Italy with my girlfriend, to attend a Pearl Jam concert; feeling the space between fingers when I hold hands with another person; feeling the sun on my face and seeing the moon rise; living in a world without war; making cheesy videos; holding my breath and letting it go; walking, walking, walking; speaking truth to power; speaking to a cousin I never knew I had until two weeks ago; swimming in the lake; breaking free; creating more art; learning the basics of playing the recorder and/or the harmonica; walking and/or biking every day

spending more time in parks, and by waterfalls; laughing more often; incorporating more music into my life; being a little braver about trying new things; listening more, talking less; doing more, thinking less; sharing time with people who understand me; doodling on old school paper with my sister’s fountain pen; finally making good on the overlooked promise to clean my room; skiing down the slope of the yard, my breath a foggy ribbon; finding white strawberries beneath decomposing leaves; ice skating with real skates, not rain boots;

my first day of college — looking around, breathing it all in, repeat; the steady click and clack of the old computer keyboard; the twelfth day of the second month when I will really be twenty; bravely going for that short-short haircut; being myself, for myself, by myself; filling page after page with scribbles called words; letting my heart speak out loud; connecting with my Pisces spirit and learning to swim laps; trying something new once a week: a way to work, the food I eat, the way I spend an evening; hosting more dinner parties; being sillier

finishing my novel and being happy with it — perhaps even getting it published; releasing stress, especially regarding family issues, and finding ways to say "so what" more often; deepening my connection with the tarot; singing more often, and louder, even if I don't sound like Billie Holiday; tracing my family tree & learning about my ancestors; camping in the wild — sleeping under the stars, finding secret streams, and climbing mysteries of mountains; exploring the river in a kayak, perhaps meeting a sea lion; seeing a dolphin in the wild; creating a beautiful herb garden for the butterflies, and  building a water lily pond for the dragonflies & frogs

retiring from the job I've held for 32 years and discovering who I am without it; watching light return to the morning and green return to the hills; resisting, persisting, and rising up; painting what my heart sees when I close my eyes; closing my eyes and seeing the otherworld; cooking more creative things than omelets, jacket potatoes, or fried-up leftovers; writing a story that's been in my mind for a while, about Tommy and the Bear; spending more time in the woods and on the beach, discovering cool stuff

practicing radical self-care; learning to speak Spanish again; traveling to Guatemala; finally learning at least 10 chords on my ukelele; falling in love; getting rid of all the unwanted, unnecessary things that bring my energy down; leaving the Christmas tree, and lights, up through February; walking to work; reading more poetry; finishing my novel; hiking in sparkling snow; sitting by the fireplace; coming home to soup for dinner; bicycling along the Erie Canal; hanging a hammock

going on more local adventures; finding a small library with a perfect room where I can sit and write; preparing for retirement by leaving work earlier every day, and investing my time in activities that bring me joy; sketching in many of the gorgeous parks nearby; being more active; noticing something that makes me laugh, every single day; appreciating winter for its quiet glory, spring for the first blossoms, summer for abundant gardens, and autumn for extravagant color

wearing less black; making friends with my aging face and body; playing the piano, occasionally for others, without nervousness or embarrassment; riding a boat to the Farmers Market; throwing five good pots; finding my voice, and using it; moving to a warmer climate; taking daily walks and letting nature be my guide; writing two pages every day; practicing haiku as a way of life; going on at least one silent retreat; meeting lots of new friends who have similar interests; getting together with old friends.

becoming certified to teach Tai Chi; finding the true rhythm of my days; writing and receiving real letters in the mail; finding new, beautiful, fun, and/or quirky stamps at the post office; working on my book about women and dolls; folding and putting away last year's clean laundry; finding new places for my teetering stacks of books; organizing my cluttered study; seeing lots of fabulous art; gathering with women friends; discovering a new writer whose many books I can't wait to read; compiling a new poetry manuscript called "The Long Habit of Bowing"

catching up with myself; finishing everything I have started; taking a short trip to Japan and visiting Portugal again; walking in the woods with a dear haiku friend; spending more time with my tai chi and yoga practices; cycling on the old familiar roads, as well as exploring new routes in new places; picking up a paint brush and playing with colors on a canvas; encouraging my sisters to join with me in writing memoir pieces, so we can reminisce together and laugh and maybe cry a little; discovering new things about the natural world

slowing down enough to be able to see beauty in small things; going out into the bush to walk among the trees; never having to have radiotherapy ever again; becoming the queen of the carnival ball; going to Kyoto and seeing the cherry blossoms; writing a perfect haiku; spending more time with some friends whom I've not made the effort to see in quite a while; visiting a couple of countries I haven't seen yet; going through my mother's papers and "stuff" that is stored in a big box under my book shelf; mending a few relational fences

having a healthier approach to life — physically, mentally, and spiritually; coming home to myself again and again; remembering that there is a happiness within that isn't dependent on outside circumstances; maintaining boundaries that allow love and connection to come in, and keep harm and self-doubt out; cherishing the beauty and wonder of this precious human life; finishing construction and detail work on the new guesthouse in time to host my daughter and her family this spring; relishing each impeccable moment of virtual and/or actual solitude

finally playing bass runs and clear barred chords on the guitar that I’ve been hauling around for the past fifty years;  exploring the island of Sumatra, and discovering amazing new tropical fruits; allowing myself to cry when I need to; becoming more accepting when people leave my life because of the limitations imposed upon me by my illness; seeing signs of significant improvement with my back, after earlier fractures; being able to walk without my transport chair

the warmth of my flannel sheets; our Japanese New Year's meal — oden; binge watching "The Crown" on Netflix; spending time on the beach in Costa Rica; a big February dance party I'm planning with a friend; marching in Seneca Falls and in New York City; working on becoming more peaceful and calm; a good long cross country ski adventure; finally doing a chin-up; turning 50; finding a blue house with white window boxes and a yellow door

taking a hot-air balloon ride with my husband and, after coming down, savoring a champagne brunch; learning ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs so when I finally get to the pyramids I can read what's on the walls; digging out my old pastels to paint a sunset; pampering my African violets, then enjoying their delicate blue, pink, and violet blooms; reading some big fat novels in long sessions while curled up in bed; visiting the local observatory to catch a glimpse of Saturn's rings and Jupiter's spangly moon, Callisto

leisurely afternoon walks through the arboretum's butterfly house as gossamer wings brush past my head and alight on my shoulders; more ripe tomatoes; the first bloom of the hot cocoa rose; the morning the blue dragonflies return; living on the high desert plateau in a town with no name; trusting my intuition and tuning in to the wisdom of my inner guide(s); reading at least one novel a week; using the public library more

buying a house after years of barely getting by; planning for a third child; publishing my own chapbook; watching my husband flourish as an actor; making a snowman with my children and their grandfather; taking my toddler to the beach for the first time; celebrating my grandmother’s 100th birthday; hearing my baby speak her first simple sentences; carving a pumpkin for the first time with my children; developing a deeper relationship with my sister now that we have reconnected

laughter creeping up unannounced, but welcomed; my heart breaking a little wider to allow more love to come in; witnessing wisdom and compassion outstripping ignorance and hate; seeing love extinguishing the embers of fear; eating lots of glorious locally-grown food; keeping gratitude as my loyal and constant companion; rediscovering my wardrobe; rekindling contact with friends and family;
writing with my esteemed sister and brother wordsmiths

slowing down and being intentional; listening, really listening, to those around me; visits with far-flung family and hugs that last; laughter that makes my stomach hurt; the weight of a new pen on crisp paper as a story unfurls from infancy to maturity; solving problems that make my mind ache in the process; cooking with my family and enjoying our creations; singing and sewing and swimming; completing the year’s circle with a satisfying hum

I am looking forward to my next breath

THANK YOU to all these contributors:

Agnes Eva Savich
Alan Bern
Alison Coluccio
Anni Johnson
Barbara Anger
Barbara Kane Lewis
Barbara Tate
Blue Waters
Brenda Ross
Caroline Gates-Lupton
Caroline Skanne
Catherine Shipos
Cheryl Adams
Christina Martin
Edna Brown
Jean Wittman
Jennifer Groff
Jennifer VanAlstine
Jo Balistreri
Joan McNerney
Judith Sornberger
Kath Abela Wilson
Linda Keeler
Marietta McGregor
Marta Chocilowska
Mary Louise Church
MaryJo Cobb
Mimi Foyle
MJ Richmond
Pris Campbell
Rob Sullivan
Simon Hanson
Stacey Murphy
Theresa A. Cancro
Tia Haynes
Tricia Knoll
Yvonne Fisher
Zee Zahava