Friday, January 8, 2021

RESOLUTIONS

 RHYS BOWEN: Tis the time for new beginnings, New Year resolutions. Who actually makes them?  I'll join a gym. Lose weight. Read a book a week. Do good deeds. Save the planet...



I have a little notebook in which I write my intention for the year. Recently it's been things like "Learn to slow down. Not get so stressed. Enjoy the success I have. Appreciate friends and family."  One intention I have had in the past is to keep a journal. I've tried this on many occasions. It starts well enough:

"New Year's Day. Chance of rain. Dreary. Don't think we'll walk today. I should purge my clothes closet."

January 2:

January 3: I forgot to write this yesterday. It's raining. Can't go out. Wish we could go back to Arizona sunshine.

January 29: Not much has happened in January....

So you can tell that I'm not really a journal-writing sort of person. I wouldn't haver made a good living as Samuel Pepys. The truth is I've always felt awkward about putting my feelings down on paper. I keep great diaries when we travel, noting and observing costumes and customs, great food, fantastic scenery. But when I get home... nothing again. So I'm not even going to try this year.

I read the other day that fellow writer Laura Lippman comes up with a one word resolution for each year.

I tried to think what mine would be. There was one of those word boards on Facebook and the first three things you see dictate what sort of year you'll have: Mine were gratitude. Create. Love. Sounds good to me.  But if I am to be honest, in the midst of a growing pandemic and craziness in DC, my one word resolution at this very moment is SURVIVE. 

We have put so much energy into just staying alive for the past year. I don't want to let my guard down when the end is in sight. So that still means chatting with my family members across a back garden, all wearing masks. No shopping except senior hour once a week. And daily walks during which we steer a wide berth around other walkers even if they are wearing masks (which 99 percent do in Marin).

Someone posted this adorable picture on Facebook and it just about sums it up, doesn't it?





HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Survive is good. REMEMBER? PERSEVERE? OPTIMISM? WINE?

 I think we should remember this topic, and six months from now, see what we’re saying. Now that’ll be interesting. 

JENN McKINLAY: I’ve done the one word resolution for years as a writer friend of mine, Holly Jacobs, mentioned that she’d been doing it for years. I’ve always picked words like gratitude, focus, or dream, and then last year I picked abundance. Hub looked at me on New Year’s Day and said, “Don’t pick “abundance” again but if you must, please be more specific that it should be good things.”

HANK: Okay, true, good thought.  Jenn! Let’s ALL pick SPECIFICITY.

HALLIE EPHRON: For years my resolution was PUBLISH A BOOK. I kept it written on a piece of paper in a drawer and then I’d just change the year. This year has been tough and I haven’t written a new book. So I think I’ll retire that scrap of paper. I’ll pick up on Rhys  and Hank’s suggestion: Survive. 

DEBORAH CROMBIE: I've never been much for big resolutions on the new year. My resolutions are always the same--write in my journal, walk more, write more, write faster… But if I had to pick one word this year, I think it would be PERSEVERE. We've made it through almost ten months of this pandemic. Let's all just hang in there a little bit longer.

LUCY:  I think I'm going with Hank's optimism. Otherwise how to survive in these troubled times.


 JULIA: Two years ago, my word (okay, phrase) was "The One Thing." I was working on figuring out what one thng I needed to get done that day and stick to it. My word at the beginning of 2020 was "Organize" but as soon as I got sick at the end of January it became "Self Care" and I've pretty much stuck with that. Chocolates? Self care. Spend the afternoon reading? Self care. 

 

The beginning of this year has been SO harried, both personally (lots of family-related stuff) and psychologically (uh, everything happening outside my doors) that I haven't sat down to plan my year and try to come up with a theme or word for it. Maybe "Agoraphobia?"


RHYS: Okay, dear readers, do you have a one word resolution for this crazy year ahead?

And after what we've been through this week, I think this is good advice....

99 comments:

  1. I’ve never been good with resolutions, or journal/diary writing, but a one word resolution seems doable . . . .
    My one word: Hope

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    1. We missed you yesterday, Joan!

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    2. Thanks, Edith . . . our Internet access is extremely iffy at the moment; we're connected at random moments, but mostly we're offline . . . now we're waiting for someone to come fix the problem, whatever it is . . .

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    3. Exactly! Whoo, glad you are okay. xx

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    4. Waiting for the internet service guy is another occasion to hope.

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  2. I also never did New Year's resolutions, or any regular journal entries.
    The only goals I set with tangible numbers each year were the Goodreads challenge and monthly step counts.
    2020 was the first year that I was not able to reach either of those.

    Yes, surviving last year was an accomplishment, but my one word is aiming for more:
    THRIVE

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    1. Roberta,
      Thanks. I have aimed high in goals throughout my life, working 110% to achieve them.

      2021 is my fifth year of retirement and I have only had one really good year where I achieved my retirement goals (2016). Injury, illnesses in the other 3 years had thwarted some of my big plans so I am still aiming high in 2021, hoping to grow and thrive despite the challenges ahead.

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    2. GRACE: Sounds like retirement has handed you some big challenges, which you've made it through. I'm wishing a year of thriving with fun for you in 2021!

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    3. AMANDA: Thanks, and I also like your one word: CREATE.

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    4. I wish Grace and Amanda lived next door to me.

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    5. ANN, GRACE: Now wouldn't THAT be fun -- to be next-door neighbours. Oh yes. We would have such conversations...and good food. And fun together discussing our latest reads. And we could travel to Bouchercon together...

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    6. ANN AND AMANDA: Yes, that would be FUN! Yummy food, good conversations and laughter.

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  3. I always think of diaries as short daily notes of what I did, and journals as those long, angsty entries where I wrestle on paper with the great questions of life. Naturally I use good paper, in a lovely journal, and do the wrestling with a fountain pen because style is the way to go, don't you know? I'm such an idiot.

    When we all went home in March of 2020, I promised myself I'd keep a record of the extraordinary year and my experiences in quarantine. It turned out I'm such an introvert my "adventures" were all the same angsty nonsense I always write about.

    Now I'm looking at a new planner, and it wants to know my "theme" for the new year. I finally wrote "Tell compelling stories," sort of by default, because that's what I always try to do. But one word? Maybe I'll take a clue from Elizabeth Warren and simply PERSIST.

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    1. Gigi, you are NOT an idiot! That is something I often say to myself, too, so just now reading what you said I know that neither one of us is that word!

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    2. So well said, Judi. Life can smack you. It's good practice not to smack yourself, too. Take a deep breath. Think of something you've done that has given someone else joy. Believe you deserve the good.

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    3. Gigi, you are definitely NOT an idiot!

      We all have to be kind to ourselves, and figure out what works best for us.
      The new planner may provide the inspiration you need.

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    4. Gigi, life changes. All the time. What used to be satisfying to you has changed, that's all. No need to beat yourself up over change, right? I also used to find writing with a fountain pen soothing to my soul. Now I have no patience for it.

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    5. Thank you, ladies, all. I actually really like writing with fountain pens and pretty inks, but sometimes it seems a little trivial to get caught up in stuff like that. My inner Puritan, I guess. You remind me of a favorite internet meme: If asked to name the ones you love, how long would it take you to name yourself? The first time I saw that, it hit me right between the eyes.

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    6. Whoa, Gigi. That stopped me in my tracks!!

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    7. Gigi, if you stopped writing with pretty inks and pens, who would enable me???

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    8. Well, true, Deb. I know I have a higher purpose in writing with pretty pens and lovely inks. And let's not forget those journals.

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  4. I used to be a prolific journaler. Is that a word? I started in grade school and kept it up - with some breaks - through the early 2000s. When computers became a thing, I went through the books and recorded the parts I thought I would want to remember on 5.5 floppy discs using the WordStar program and tossed the volumes. You see where this is going, right. I kept new annual journals figuring that I would transcribe them at the end of each year. I still have those. There is an upside to inertia. Now I use a Microsoft program called Diarium. As I have aged and become less angst ridden, the entries now tend to be short and sweet.

    One word resolution? I think I need three this year - Kindness, Gratitude, and Persevere.

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    1. I like your words, Kait. Persevere seems right for what we’re going through

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    2. I like your words, Kait. And your example with WordStar and the floppies reminds me of a demonstration I used to give on quilt documentation. I set up on a little table with a stack of floppies of various size, a Zip drive (remember those?) a VHS videotape, and my own handwritten quilt journal--an Iona journal, written in fountain pen. My question to my audience was, "When you die, which of these records are your grandchildren most likely to want to go through?" Since I was having to smack people's hands to keep them away from the Iona journal, the answer was pretty clear from the start. Written journals transcend time. Those of you who don't know what I mean when I talk about Iona journals, go here: https://ionahandcraftedbooks.com

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  5. I'll go with SURVIVE. Not that different from PERSIST or PERSEVERE. I'm a seriously cheerful person by nature, and I've never had such a long period of feeling grim. HOPE and GRATITUDE can come along later. I just need to get through this.

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    1. I know Edith, it has been grim...I think we can see light though...

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  6. "Survive" sounds like the most achievable resolution, if I was so inclined to make one.

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    1. Yes it does.

      In college basketball, "survive and advance" is the term they use for trying to win in the NCAA tournament. UConn women's coach Geno Auriemma famously said, "I don't want to survive and advance, I want to conquer and dominate".

      I'm not that ambitious but I understand the inclination. However, "survive" is the best I can do right now.

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  7. So many choices, the easiest would be "breathe; perhaps, accept, engage? No the best fit is to recognize connection and say WITNESS.

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    1. Breathe is always a good one, on more than one level, Coralee. But Witness is an interesting and important choice, too.

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    2. Witness is interesting, Coralee. I thought about "engage" because I think we've all come to realize that we can't just sit this one out. But we must "witness" too.

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  8. Survive, Persist, Persevere, Hope, Gratitude, Thrive, combined for me is ACHIEVE

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  9. So many good ones here and I especially love Julia's self-care but I suspect that is what I have been doing all along. I think OPTIMISM will be my word! Things WILL get better!

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    1. I’m trying for optimism but it seems to be one piece of bad news after another!

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  10. I like the one-word resolution idea. I can manage one word! And for me, for this year, I'll choose CREATE. It's active and positive and can be applied in many varied ways. Bring it on, 2021!

    As for journals or diaries, I've mentioned here before that I keep a Daily Log -- not the pressure of a journal or the grind of a diary, my log is a simple recording of my observations of the day. The last couple of days have been about international events (in DC) and I've printed and glued onto the page a scaled-down version of the front page of The Washington Post as part of Wednesdays and Thursdays entries; I've added in a few pithy comments of my own and, voila, daily entry done. Other days, my entries are handwritten commentaries of my inner state and other matters that measure my mood and progress through time.

    I have come to value this daily activity and I really appreciate being able to look back through the log (begun Sep. 1 2018) to see what happened and how my thinking has evolved along the way. I highly recommend the practice. And Gigi is correct: It's a GREAT excuse to buy good-quality paper and pens :)

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    1. Thanks, Amanda. I like your word, CREATE, a lot.

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    2. Yes, me, too, Amanda! And I love your daily log idea.

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    3. Amanda, you sound like a perfect person to take part in something I find fascinating, the Sketchbook Project at the Brooklyn Museum. It's a global project, a creative one. Here's the link to the site, just in case you want to take a look. https://brooklynartlibrary.org/

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    4. Kathy: Thank you so much for the suggestion and the link. I shall investigate!

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  11. I need an action word for my resolution. Last year's new year's resolution was perfect for the year we had. Read Reds.

    I think I'll just continue to do that this year, but add "record" to that so I can feel the full joy when I look back. Maybe I should promise to "review." On top of the actual reading, Audible told me that I listened to over 300 hours of books. Most of them were Reds'. Many blessing to you all my friends, for a healthy, happy new year.

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    1. How is your foot, Judy? Are you out of the cast now?

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    2. Thanks, Hank, love you, too. Gigi, out of boot and walking a mile now without pain. Debs, you are the best! You led me here and I love it!

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  12. DETERMINATION. I can re-write and query my debut mystery.

    Before we moved to Cincinnati, I started sending a Friday morning email to friends and cousins--what I was reading and watching on TV, what was blooming in the garden, the antics of the kids and dogs. With flower photos. I live in paper chaos, but the emails are in plastic files in a desk drawer. When I'm writing about my mother-of-teenagers main character, a quick read through some of the emails brings it all back.

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  13. I have not been very introspective thus far in 2021, so this is a good exercise for me. I feel like my word might be REDEFINE or REDISCOVER. I feel like this pandemic hit when I was at an age where I needed to begin to think about life changes anyway, and between those two factors I'm quite sure my return to normal shouldn't be a return to my old normal. I need to figure out my next steps.

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    1. That's an important journey, Susan, and I wish you luck on it. We should all take time to curate the collection of things, ideas, companions we want to take with us on the next leg of the journey, and what we can "deaccession," from the baggage pile. I'll bet your new normal is a thing of beauty.

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    2. SUSAN, I made several big life changes when I retired early 5 years ago. The OLD NORMAL would not (and could not) work for me anymore. That first year (2016) was a great time to EXPLORE and as you say, REDEFINE what is important in your life. Good luck with that voyage.

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    3. Gigi and Grace, thank you both for the encouragement. I love being part of this community!

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  14. No journal and no resolutions here. I'm not inclined to introspection. Like many people, I have good days and not so good ones but I go forward.
    All the words mentioned are good ones. I choose THRIVE thinking that it includes most of the words already mentioned.

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  15. RHys, I'm much like you when it comes to journaling. I once tried to journal every day for my son's first year of life. I think I made it four days.

    I gave up resolutions for goals, then goals for...nothing. One word? Survive sounds good to me. Applicable to sooo many things!

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  16. In order to THRIVE, I have to survive, endure, persist, move forward--good choice, Grace.

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    1. FLORA: Yes, I agree it is a multi-step process to get to THRIVE.

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  17. Shh, don't tell anybody, but my blog comments most days constitute a journal entry. With daily prompts by Reds. It's the closest I've ever come to sticking to that practice, might as well be honest about it.

    I like the idea of a word, Rhys, but sticking to one? Well, you know me, Ms. Wordy McWordyperson. I like Kait's Kindness and Gratitude. And I think I'd have to add Peace. That seems to have been my goal all year, looking for peace wherever I could: in music, in books, in the garden, in my calm and soothing home surroundings. It has helped us so much to be able to sit in front of a fire in the evenings, or on the porch, just soaking in quiet.

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    1. KAREN: I like your approach to journal entries via this JRW blog. What a good practice. And I love your choice of 'peace'. May it be so.

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    2. Wordy Mcwordperson! Still laughing and I’ll remember to call you that!

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    3. hey, that is brilliant! So wise of you! And we are honored. xoo

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    4. Rhys, apparently, I need to add Honesty to my list! LOL

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    5. Peace is great, Karen. I think I've been doing the same all year, looking for peace in the small things.

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    6. What a brilliant idea, Karen, to make you comments here your journal entry for the day. I wish I'd thought of that. I don't journal, but I've thought I probably should, but I never start. However, the comments I make here on Jungle Reds are always me thinking deeply about something, so they would make a great journal entry. Thanks for sharing your secret with us.

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  18. "pivot", that's me, I'm doing X, but V needs Y and can't remember where, so I 'pivot'. I think there will be more of that in the year, perhaps it s a physical twist and I will lose some waist inches. Always think positive. I'm with you Rhys, never manage to stick to a journal.

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  19. My first thought, even before I'd read beyond "one word resolution", was survive. And that's where we all must start of course. In the midst of a pandemic and an insane administration, our republic's foundations are in danger. We seem to move from crisis to crisis.

    Although I do manage to shower and dress each day, what I don't do is get out. I don't mean retail therapy, nothing so energetic, but just getting out the door into the air. It's easy, living up here on the tundra as I do, to stay close to the hearth. Gray skies don't clear up. Rain mixed with snow isn't pleasant, not to mention dangerous for an old lady to traverse. And those LLBean slippers that I treated myself to last year are so comfortable.

    So my one word resolution shall be MOVE.

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    1. Move is a good resolution, Ann, and can apply on a number of levels...

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    2. ANN: Gloomy gray days and sub zero temperatures are not very inspiring to get outside but it really does pick up your mood. So I heartily agree with your choice of MOVE as your word.

      I was a couch potato and indoor hibernator during the winters in Toronto because I was exhausted from the work & 2.5 hour commute.

      Each time I moved to Ottawa, one of the criteria I had was WALKING DISTANCE TO WORK. Sometimes that was 15 minutes each way, or my last move in 2014 had me less than 5 minutes away from my workplace (almost TOO CLOSE).

      And I spent that EXTRA FREE TIME (2 hours every workday) enjoying the great outdoors. Ottawa is blessed with 100s of km/mi of hiking, cycling trails and skating/skiing/snowshoeing/walking opportunities that have kept me sane these past few years.

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  20. I don’t ever do resolutions, and I don’t intend to start now. But if I were to pick a word, or a theme, for a new year, it would be CHALLENGE. As in “this isn’t an obstacle, this is a challenge, and I can do it.” In 2020 it felt like every couple of days there were new obstacles popping up, preventing me/all of us from leading normal lives. I would like to challenge myself to learn something new, or a new way of doing something that has changed because of Covid. Maybe I should challenge myself to overcome my hatred of Zoom so I can enjoy some classes and meetings I have missed in the past year. Maybe there will be a different challenge. But I want to be open to challenges.

    DebRo

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  21. I have to agree with Rhys that the word for the first half of the year (and hopefully not quite that long) is survive. But after that, the three words I'm going to go with are: DO IT NOW. If my husband and I have learned anything from this past year it is that there is no time to waste. Stop planning. Start living those plans. Want to live in Bali three months out of the year? Do it. Now. Give it a try. Want to write a thriller? Great. Do it. Now. Get it out of your system. Want to visit every National Park in the U.S.? Do it. Now. It's going to take a while.

    Do it all and damn the torpedoes!

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    1. Amy: I agree. There is no time like 2021, aka NOW, to do what we want and need to do. With all that's going on in the world (near and far), the future is right here now today. Go for it, say I.

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    2. AMY: I agree that NOW is appropriate. So many people keep putting off things they want to do for LATER or WHEN I RETIRE. And that day may never come, so yes, go for it!

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    3. Amy, you are right on target. No more putting things off for another day. Today is the day!

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  22. I need come back and read later, off to work in a few minutes. My word - SEEK.

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  23. Every year, I decide I'm going to do something different in the new year. That lasts about an hour. This year has been no different.

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    1. Mark, you made me laugh. I think many of us do the same. Hahaha!

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  24. I don't make resolutions. It is like putting a red shirt on something I want to achieve. Doomed! However I did pick a word for the year a couple of weeks ago. I even checked the meaning since I knew it could be used different ways, but it still fit. And. . . I forgot it. And until I read JRW today I had forgotten I'd even had a word for the year. How pathetic is that???? I'll keep checking your words today to see if anyone else came up with it. I have a feeling that word is wearing a red shirt.

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  25. My word for 2021 is SERENDIPITY. My brother and I were talking the other day about how critical luck is in birdwatching. He was saying that he happened to stop and sit on his deck for a few minutes one day in the fall and found himself in the middle of a wave of migrating warblers in the trees around him. Thirty minutes later they were gone and it's never happened again. If he gotten home a bit later than he did, he'd have missed the whole thing. While you can't make serendipity happen, you can learn to better appreciate and enjoy it when it occurs. So, I'm going to try and be better at that.

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    1. So true, Chris! I just happened to be looking out the window one afternoon a few months ago and saw an unfamiliar bird land in a tree. It came down to the feeders long enough for me to get a better look so I could run to the bird ID book to see if I could identify it. Later, my husband saw it, too, and he confirmed my decision that it was a juvenile redheaded woodpecker, something we would normally never see here in the city.

      If I hadn't been looking out at that moment we would never have known it was here.

      Serendipity is responsible for a lot of good stuff, if you let it! Good choice.

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    2. I love SERENDIPITY, Chris, it's always been one of my favorite words and concepts. But you have to encourage it.

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  26. I like the word persevere. And when the crazies are being more careless and more crazy I am comforted when I see that other are like me and just sticking with what has worked this past year.

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  27. I have had a single word to begin the New Year at different times, but one thing I usually do is have a word at the end of the year that describes what the theme, so to speak, of the year turned out to be. There was the year of my high school's 40th reunion that was the year of "re-connecting," as many friendships were renewed and began again in full force. I haven't settled on a word for 2020 yet, but "survival" certainly is at the forefront.

    So, a word for 2021, to put out into the universe and send your message. How about "rejoice"? One of my favorite Bible verses is "This is the day the Lord has made;let us be glad and rejoice in it." There are some good changes coming in our country, including getting the vaccine against COVID, so I want to celebrate the good and not dwell on the bad this year. That doesn't mean I won't fret at all or recognize the challenges, but I want to try to spend more time rejoicing in the blessings I have. Of course, that includes rejoicing in this beautiful community here at this blog.

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    1. That is lovely, Kathy, and thank you so much for the inspirational comment. We really need those this week!

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    2. Good one, Kathy. Rejoice. I'm pretty sure we'll do it better after 1/20/21.

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    3. That is a favorite verse for me, too, Kathy. And so appropriate to the moment!

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  28. Good morning! Sorry I am so late to the party. I woke up at 10:30 California time.

    Instead of Resolutions, I have INTENTIONS. My intention is similar to that cartoon 2021 list above.

    My word for 2021 is: MINDFULNESS

    Diana

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  29. Word for 2021: RE-FOCUS! (I put the RE in front because I feel I've lost a lot of focus in 2020.) As far as reviews--well, I've gotten some that were definitely hurtful. But I'm grateful for the reviews I've gotten that are good. Even great, in several cases! I try to remind myself that each review is just one opinion. Wish I had the strength to not read reviews at all. RE-FOCUS!

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