Saturday, January 1, 2022

Stepping Tentatively into 2022

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Happy New Year, everyone! As I mentioned last year (sorry, I had to get that old chestnut out of the way) it’s a Reds tradition to share our resolutions on or about January first. We’ve talked about goal setting and intentions. Rhys has shared her habit of making a beginning-of-the-year list, and Jenn got us started on our current practice, which is to think about a word that will shape the coming year.


Our words for January 2020 were things like Abundance, Energy and Joy. Needless to say, our words on January 2021 were a little less enthusiastic. Survive, Persevere and Self Care were popular. So how to go forward into the third year of a world-wide pandemic? We all want to greet the new year with bravery and optimism, but the latter, at least, is getting hard to find.


I feel like I’ve been living inward for the past two years, staying at home, traveling in books and escaping in TV shows and movies. So, looking inward, my word for 2022 is going to be DEEP WORK. It’s a phrase, I know. This past year, I realized one of my problems with writing is that I’ve trained my brain with an endless diet of quick hits - skimming the paper, picking up books and putting them down, scrolling Twitter or FB for hours in my down time. I need to retrain my mind, to improve my focus for non-writing jobs and my endurance for writing. If I shorten the word to DEEP, it works as well. If we can’t go wide in a Covid-19 world, we can still go deep.

 


What are your words for 2022, Reds?

 

RHYS BOWEN:  Oh Julia— I’m finding it hard to be positive right now. We’ve all been so careful for so long and it’s been one step forward and two steps back for two years. I was looking forward to a cruise and now not sure it will happen. So a word or resolution? I think it would have to be gratitude for what a have: my family safe, my surroundings beautiful, my writing flourishing. So I resolve to see the goodness amid the gloom, the glimmer of hope. So my word is CHERISH.

 

 


HALLIE EPHRON: I second Rhys: I am SO grateful for what I have, right now a houseful of raucous grandchildren and their lovely parents and auntie and cat, all in good health. This year my resolution is easy: get back on the horse and write. My word: STICKY. Something I’ll write about more in the new year.

 

 


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: My word is “WHATEVER.” Okay, that’s probably not a great word, but for someone who is used to taking control of things (as much as I can or should) and not being a very go-with-the-flow person, the flow has gotten to me, and fine. I am in the “do the best I can and be grateful” mode. I am lucky, we are lucky, in so many ways, and I just want to write my books and keep people safe and take one step at a time. As we’ve discussed, I have no idea what day it is, but as long as there’s a day, all good. 

 

 


LUCY BURDETTE: Like Rhys, I’m finding it hard to be positive. Right now at this very moment, I’m discouraged. Another year of this nonsense, really? I know I’ll come out of that, and I will write the next food critic mystery–I’m pleased with what I have so far. But what will come after that? It will be something but I’m not sure what! I don’t want my word for the year to be “discouraged,” so maybe I’ll borrow Rhys’s “GLIMMER.”  

 

 


JENN MCKINLAY: My word for the year is “PERSIST” because, frankly, there’s no alternative other than to keep on keeping on. Next year will be what it will be no matter how much we kick our feet and pull our hair out. That being said, I’d like to see some terms and conditions before I agree to 2022 but I don’t expect that will happen either.

 

 


DEBORAH CROMBIE: I think I will go with “SMALL.” Since I, like most of us, am struggling to come up with big broad terms like “hopeful.” So I will just try to focus on the small everyday things that can be tackled (as in pages written) or appreciated ( a few minutes sitting in the sun.) There is a dash of “cherish” and a dash of “determination” in there, too.

 

 


JULIA: How about you, dear readers? What would you choose for your word? And how are you this fine New Year’s Day?

85 comments:

  1. Happy New Year!

    I am feeling so frustrated as we move into a third year of uncertainty and upheaval; I am determined to find something to celebrate, something that reminds me that there is much for which I am grateful. So . . . my word is SEEK and my plan is to actively search for a smile-worthy blessing in each day . . . .

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    1. That sounds really lovely, Joan. May you find exactly that, and more.

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    2. Joan, SEEK is a wonderful word, and a good one to pair with GRATITUDE, I think.

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  2. I think we're all a little gun-shy of making our goals or hopes too big in this third year of waiting for some kind of normal to return. So, I like your idea Julia of going deep if we can't go wide. Right now, I'm feeling like my word might be "push," as I need to push myself to make some lifestyle changes that don't depend on getting out in the world to do. It might be a lofty goal for me, but I am really going to try to keep "push" in my mind as I work on myself.

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    1. PUSH makes a lot of sense to me, Kathy. I feel in 2020, we all thought we were going to become yoga masters and learn how to play the piano at home. Then in 2021 we all sort of collapsed inward. Perhaps, for 2022, we can strike a balance between those two points by pushing ourselves. A little.

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    2. A balance sounds good, Julia.

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  3. Good, apt words, all. I think I'll pick FEARLESS. Not imprudent with health or risk-taking in life, but fearless in my writing, in expressing love, and in dancing. Karen inspired me with wanting to dance more, a bit every day. And if the light is on and the neighbors see me dancing alone, so be it!

    As to how I am - well, I didn't stay up drinking (or even not drinking) until midnight, so I feel remarkably good, and I hope you all do, as well.

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    1. Edith, I like your word. As for me, I actually was awake at midnight, although I was in bed, just waiting to turn the light off. My tipple for the evening was hot cocoa with a candy cane stirred in to make it minty.

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  4. Despite all the trials of the past year, I learned that I was stronger than I thought I was.
    And I am still Standing, last of my tribe left in Canada, and I have goals and plans to achieve.

    So my word for 2022 is PERSEVERE. I will continue to work on my retirement journey, and push myself to go further even though it may be (another) difficult year. I am stubborn and optimistic and refuse to give up!

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    1. Grace, I think I speak for everyone here when I say how very much we admire you, and your strength, and your perseverance. I have no doubt you will push through and have an amazing 2022. Whatever difficulties come, you already know you can handle them.

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    2. JULIA: Thanks, although I know several others have had a tough couple of years, too.

      Now I am thinking of changing my 2022 word to MOVE. Perseverance is not enough.
      So I aim to MOVE more literally (i.e., steps walked), and also move forward emotionally, spiritually and creatively.

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  5. My word will be NATURE. I will get out into it more, even in my own backyard. I will think about it when I make my choices at the grocery store and when I sit down to write checks for donations.

    And maybe, Edith, I will dance a little, too!

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    1. We can all use as much NATURE as we can get, Judy!

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    2. It's amazing how much difference just being outside for a few minutes every day makes in our outlooks, isn't it?

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  6. 2020-2021 was such a bad year for me in so many ways, so my word for 2022 is TRIUMPH.

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    1. I hope that word is absolutely true for you in 2022, Dru.

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    2. Two words for you: standing ovation.

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  7. Such a lovely, GENEROUS post to wake up to this first morning of the New Year! My word is generous--in spite of everything, I want to be generous in my feelings, with my patience, with myself and others. And with my fists--I want to push my way past fear, past despair, and persevere, persist, go deep, reach for those glimmers of hope and beauty, and stick on this horse called life with all the grace I can. Or whatever.

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    1. We're glad you're so GENEROUS with your humor, wisdom, and good spirits, Flora!

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    2. That's a wonderful though to go forward with, Flora!

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  8. Here I am, first day of the year, with grateful tears. No idea why, and it isn't even from having too much champagne last night because we only had our single traditional Sazerac.

    Kay Barley posted something similar on Facebook yesterday, so I have already chosen my word: abundance. Our worlds have become so small these last 22 months, and I choose to open my heart and embrace more. More love, more beauty, more art. Why should our souls suffer, too?

    I'm dancing with Edith to more music, by golly. Bonus: smaller hips. You don't want to take this abundance thing too far, you know.

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    1. ABUNDANCE was Jenn's word for 2020, Karen. At the end of the year we told her she needed to be a lot more specific about her words!

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    2. Good point. Maybe I should change it to PEACE.

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  9. “Hope is the thing with feathers”. I am trying to see a glimmer of hope that the plague will subside to manageable. And that I will have the courage to step out into the world a bit more. I want to dance ( probably only in the living room). And I want to remember Betty White as a shining example of a life well lived.

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    1. Wasn't she, Ann? I was listening to excerpts from a 2014 interview this morning on NPR, and she was so vivacious, so grateful to still be relevant and still be working. And she was 92! May we all take Betty as a role model.

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  10. Anne Lamott's one inch square. If I can fill it once a day, I've written a paragraph.

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    1. Inch by inch and bird by bird, Margaret.

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    2. I so loved seeing one’s of my favorite books be a touchstone in Ted Lasso.

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  11. First of all, for everyone reading this : HAPPY NEW YEAR !

    My word is solidarity. Something we find here.

    I want to be there for everyone I love and who is struggling because helping others gives me happiness.
    When I’m focusing helping others, I forget about myself and about negative thoughts.

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    1. Bonne année à toi, Danielle! SOLIDARITY is a wonderful word, especially in the way it implies being with and supporting other people. And you're absolutely right; My grandmother used to say if you have trouble find someone else to help.

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  12. I think my word would be content. I am retired and so is my husband. We have a house, live in the country, have a dog and 8 cats, two of which were kittens this spring and just a bundle of joy, and a palace full of chickens (you read that right – it is called the chicken palace). Fresh eggs any time of the day. All our kids are happy, have partners and if they want them have kids. They may not live here, but we connect as much as we want, not necessarily in person. Our life, which is boring, has not changed much with Covid. I always shopped month to month (most food came from our own yard). Neither of us is social butterfly, and both hate talking on the phone, so I guess we are not people persons. Our wardrobe always includes a sweatshirt – usually covered in ‘something’. We have Geriatric Row (a series of 6 Adirondack chairs) on the front deck where we set-a-spell, and watch for Monarch Butterflies. Our only real change is that we really discourage non-vaccinated members of the family or community and they are not allowed in our house – that makes it their choice.
    My father was always a glass half-full person – probably more than half full in his case. A hurricane was just a bit of a breeze...fix, something? Temporary is good for now... I am pleased that I inherited this from him – quite probably his best gift – ever!
    So, I am content. Happy, warm, full belly and a cat on my lap – oh and a new jigsaw puzzle to start the year!

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    1. Margo, it sounds like life is good for you. I also inherited the "glass is mostly full" attitude from my father. It's been seriously challenged these last two years, but it always comes back. Aren't we lucky?

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    2. Margo, I think many of us here would love to have your "boring" life!

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  13. Happy New Year all!

    My word for the year? Positive. Like Edith and Margo, I've always been a glass half full person. The past two years have been grueling, and we kept waiting for something to change to make it better. This year I'm going to consider the current status as good as it gets and change how I look at it and react to it. I intend to tweak out the nuggets of good from whatever happens and form that raw clay into the best it can be. Onward!

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  14. I've been pondering an appropriate word for days, and I think I'm going to have more than one for 2022. The word that keeps rising to the top is TRANSCEND--rise above all of the horrific stuff and keep a positive attitude (I've been praying for that every night since my late husband was first diagnosed in early 2017). The second is BEAUTIFY. I've been in my new house for a year and a half now, and I love it. But I am loath to take down my Christmas decorations because I am especially enjoying how it looks right now. So I'll work on beautifying my surroundings step by step. And finally, I love the word GLIMMER that was mentioned here today. It seems to sum up the other two. So thank you for the suggestion. Happy New Year, everyone!

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  15. My word, being the cantankerous cranky grumpy SOB that I am, is a certain extremely popular four letter curse word. Because as I see things developing, we still seem to be _ _ _ _ ed.

    That said, I'm just going to do what I've been doing for the last couple of years and moving about doing what I need to do. All you can do really.

    As for how I am on this day? Well I woke up 90 minutes ago and I'm about to start working on my Top 10 Mysteries & Thrillers list to post later in the day. That will take me a couple hours at least.

    Beyond that, no idea what the day holds.

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    1. Jay, we love you as a cranky SOB. Please never change. And please come back and post the link to your 10 top mysteries and thrillers list when you've got up!

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    2. Jay, you are on the money. We are so thrilled to have you here!

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    3. Julia, here's my Top 10 Mysteries and Thrillers list - http://classic-rock-bottom.ning.com/forum/topics/my-top-10-mysteries-thrillers-of-2021

      Hank, thank you!

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  16. Julia, I was awake at midnight too -- saying happy ducking new year. It is hard to begin yet another trip around the sun with Omicron hitching a ride, with the vaccines not being quite the magic bullet we hoped, with December wild fires and tornados cutting a swath across the country, with all the corruption eating at the heart of our politics.

    But on the other hand, I and my family and friends are well. We have enough to eat and enough to wear and a little more than enough to drink.

    For thirst is a dangerous thing. Thank you JJ Jerome.

    So my word for 2022 is ROLL. ROLL with the punches, ROLL with the times, ROLL with the thought that we aren't so important as we think, that we've been around as a tribe, a species, for a few millennia, and in the scheme of things, our time here is too brief to measure.

    ROLL ON

    And here's to a happier new year.

    Much love, Ann


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    1. Ann, as a Crimson Tide fan, I was already fond of the word ROLL. But I really love it in your context. Roll with the punches and roll on, indeed.

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  17. Happy New Year, dear JRW community!

    I love this practice and am going to add my word, which is PLAN. So many plans have gone awry in the past two years, but if I keep *not* planning I’ll end up not moving at all and I cannot bear that thought. So, I am planning. I have a lovely new notebook and jars of nice pens, several calendars and more than a few writing and workshop ideas for this new year. Sure, the damn virus may force some plans to change, but those that I can execute from my home, my desk and via Zoom, well — I’m in charge of those…and I do love checking off a to-do list.

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    1. Amanda, I was not much of a planner a few years ago. I started working with Celia, who pointed out you can always change a plan, but without one to start with, you're just sort of thrashing around in the dark. So one of the things I'm doing today is writing out my plan for the year!

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    2. Y/our Celia is a keeper, that's for sure -- for her recipes and her wisdom :)

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  18. HNY to everyone again and what a gorgeous bouquet of words to wake up to, thank you everyone I think I need them all so my word is MOVE for 2022. Our life is like Margo’s, though without the critters so I haven’t had some of the challenges face by others. Still I do think that this seismic shift in our living has been felt by all globally. In 2020, just breathing seemed to be enough. 2021 has been a learning year so 2022 needs to move. Thanks to my daughter who has given me a Peloton Tread for Christmas, I shall MOVE. That reminds me to use MOVE throughout my day, no more procrastination or at least recognize it and name it. Now what am I doing?

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    1. We're going to do your next recipe video with you talking to the readers while walking on the Tread, Celia!

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  19. I watched Don’t Look Up last night, and I was crying and crying. The dinner table scene really knocked me out. I thought it was an amazing story, kind of… Stupidly portrayed. But such a good message. And I may be choosing a new word which might be: listen.

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    1. Me too. That dinner scene choked me up. But the last scene during the credits made me laugh.

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    2. Yes--me, too. But I was surprised at that decision. xxx

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    3. I gave up after the first thirty minutes. Should I have stuck out for the whole movie?

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    4. Excellent word, Hank. And I'm dying to watch Don't Look Up!

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    5. Oh, Debs, I'm not sure what the answer to that is. Probably...your time could have been better used, but I am truly still haunted by the message.
      xx

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    6. The dinner scene was worth the trip, though I might have quit too if there hadn't been peer pressure:). And the prayer at the end--I'm going to find it and post it over my desk.

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    7. I was crying at the end too, then while the credits rolled, the last scene of the landing on a planet and the Gyrock or whatever it was, all these greedy nonlistening people at the end were eaten! Then I was laughing. Tore me up both ways. But over the next few days, I was depressed, seeing it as the human race's inability to see the truth in our climate fiasco. OK, it made me a mess. Just sayin'.

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  20. I *am* INSPIRED by these words...

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    1. Everyone's all together creates a kind of pattern for the coming year, doesn't it?

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  21. ROLL ON resonates, and calls to mind Winston Churchill's quote "If you're going through hell, KEEP GOING." Hopefully it isn't as bad as all that for people reading this, but head up, feet moving will get us to the other side ... maybe even this year! GRATEFUL that the two covid cases in my house are mild, and so far we infected no one else over Christmas (yes, we tested and we tested, but we didn't know that BinaxNow doesn't catch low viral loads).

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    1. Glad your cases are mild, Linda! (And now I'm envisioning a future New Year's greeting where we routinely wish each other "Mild infections in the coming year!"

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  22. As I sit in my bed, watching the Rose Parade, I'm thinking of TOMORROW. I've lived in the past most of my life, dwelling on the wrongs that were done. I have finally picked up my crochet hooks this past week. So, I'm going to look to tomorrow. What I can go to move forward and create, with as little dwelling ON the past wrongs, either real or presumed. Happy New Year everyone.

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  23. I come to this site in the afternoon when so much has already been said. Like Hallie, I am inspired by the diversity of words. There are 5 that form the backbone of the political philosophy that has been my academic life: humility, honesty, respect,tolerance and love. I want to re write some Platonic dialogues illuminating those values. Perhaps, in retirement. Beyond that, my word for this year is PATIENCE." Take a breath, take the time and don't fret.

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    1. PATIENCE is an excellent virtue, C.D. "Possess your soul with patience."

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  25. Our New Year's was quiet and lovely. Champagne, snacks, and Poirot. When the old fogey went to bed (well before midnight) my son and I watched a short Swedish mystery/comedy series on Netflix called Anxious People. That story evolved in multiple directions, was hopeful and poignant and funny as hell. And absolutely had a feel good ending. Do watch it!
    As for the word of the year, I'm not sure I should bother. I can't remember what my word was for last year. Typical. But I choose light. In all senses of the word. Light as opposed to dark. Light as opposed to heavy. Light as opposed to burdened. Light as opposed to depressed.
    Our granddaughter is enroute from Cleveland and will start her last culinary school term next week. Hooray! I just put the blackeyes on for later. I think rice and cornbread are called for too.
    Happy New Beginning everyone!

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    1. Happy New Year, Pat, and I think your word may top, or combine, all the other wonderful suggestions here today.

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    2. Light as in de-light and de-light-ful, Pat!

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  26. Recently I’ve learned RESPAIR, from the 16th century, is fresh hope, and a recovery from despair, so that’s my choice for the year.

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    1. Lisa, I love old words! How did such a useful concept fall out of our vocabulary?

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  27. My word is DETERMINED. Determined to get the big ideas out of my head and in motion. Love all the different words and what they mean to that person.

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    1. Nicole, DETERMINED is what makes all the other words work!

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  28. I'm with Jenn and Grace: PERSIST, PERSEVERE-- and perhaps ENDURE.

    And I would add, GRATEFUL (for unexpected kindnesses), a carryover from the past several years.

    And an unexpected WINDFALL (from-- as my mom would have said-- a GOOD source) wouldn't hurt.

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    1. Be careful, Ellen - the way the weather's going lately, you could manifest a fallen tree on the powerlines to your place!

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    2. Just snow-- lots of it. Not leaving the building.

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  29. My New Year's Resolutions have been stolen from some random post. Don't watch the news, and throw away the scale. I also am a little apprehensive because of this: 2022 if written as 202,too, horrors! I continue to be grateful so all of you for the works you all produce. It makes life rich, exciting, interesting, and way more fun than reality!

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    1. Thank you, Unknown! (Or since we're all Agatha Christie fans, I'd say U.N. Owen...

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  30. Thanks to all of you for good words at the end of this discouraging first day of the year. Comfort and lots to think about. My word might be RETURN. because it is time to get back to some things, set aside, that bring me happiness.

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  31. Sorry to be late chiming in. I spent all day cleaning my office in preparation for starting back to work on Monday. Phew! I am ready! Look out 2022. I blame to take no prisoners!

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  32. Thanks for all the words, including your words talking about the words. My choice is RISE. I will not be chained to the past. I will Rise and still move onward.

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  33. Happy New Year! I have been choosing a word each year for a long time now. I use the word as a focus for my daily meditations. In 2021, the word was Gratitude. For 2022, it is Joy. Archbishop Desmond Tutu's death at the end of the year shaped my selection. He embodied joy! Both gratitude and joy are repeats, but I like to keep it simple. I had hoped that meditating on these words would increase their presence in my life. I don't think it's happened that way, but I persist.

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