New Beginnings – looking backward and forward
Every year I’m excited for New Beginnings that the New Year brings. I like to look backward to reflect, then forward with great excitement. This year I’m a bit melancholy, so although I still have my zestful ambition, my frustration over all I had wanted to do, and didn’t do, is bugging me. What you can’t see are the stacks of posts started and never finished. They’re hidden from view, waiting for me to give them some love before publishing. Stacks of photos taken and not shared are even greater. Experiences enjoyed and the adventures traveled are not documented. The garden was neglected beyond belief. Books read and never reviewed are stacked up, hoping for wise words to form.
Most of my reasons for starting this blog went on hiatus. My zesty, zippity do-dah has been a weak waggle.
There is good reason for it, so I’m not as frustrated as I could have been, had it been pure laziness for not meeting my goals. Lazy isn’t allowed to happen often around here. We’re still dealing with my husband’s cancer diagnosis, and all the challenges that follow. More details on that in the New Year / New Challenge with a Capital C post from 2017. He had surgery in 2016, then finished radiation treatment this year in March. He started other treatment which will last 2-3 years.
I chose to make the summer of 2017 the “summer of fun,” so we had good vibes to assist his healing and my sanity. Then, I had some health challenges toward the end of the year when I had hoped to catch up a little bit. We’re still trying to sort out what I’m severely allergic to that’s causing havoc – that will be a 2018 mystery to solve. It was a doozy of a December with two frightening trips to ER. Takes sending the old year out with a bang to a whole new level.
All this could easily make a person give up or change course. I’d be lying if I didn’t say, I have considered it. At least twice. But, I’m also very stubborn. I still have my dream and the zest for it is still there – I’m just a little tired. I guess you could say I’m regrouping in 2018. I’m also not making any promises I can’t keep. Personal goals of getting back to art and crafts I love are high on my list. I miss it. I paint, quilt, and make dolls, among other things. I would love to have time to make my granddaughters some of my favorite dolls. I would love to teach them to paint. And crotchet. I miss that too.
I have ideas for future posts that I want to work on, so you can follow our adventures after the fact. We spent the whole summer camping for a week or two every month at our new favorite refuge, and I can’t wait to show you all the camping spots we enjoyed there. And the food we cooked. And the birdies who visited. It was our little oasis after the storm that cancer diagnosis and treatment brings to your life. I miss it already and can’t wait to get rid of this winter weather so we can begin again. I would love to go to Dauphin Island for a month or two – we’ll just put that on my wishlist. HA
I did complete one goal by New Year’s Eve. It was a lofty goal of reading seventy books in 2017, as well as including reviews. It was a week or two before the end of the year when I realized I had only read and documented fifty books, twenty shy of my goal. I knew that wasn’t right, so I had to go searching. I hadn’t recorded several of the children’s books I had been reading with my grandchildren, as well as several of the cookbooks I’d been reading all year. Those are both “out of sight, out of mind” because I put them away and then forget to document. I just made it to seventy books after my gathering on December 31st. Whew! Of course, there are still some reviews that need to be written, but I can cross off several after this last week’s push.
I also read 11 books in the 12 book TBR Challenge for 2017 that I do with a group of bloggers, hosted by Wendy the Super Librarian. We’re back at it in 2018, hoping to get them all done on time every month by the third Wednesday! You’re welcome to follow us around the net and jabber with us, or join us with your own pile of books. I still have one more review to write from the 2017 challenge, but it feels good to have read 11 books that had been stagnant on my TBR (to be read) pile. Not that it stops me from buying more books, but at least I’m being a bit more careful about print books and buying more in eBook that don’t take up physical shelf space in my already over-the-top library.
I did follow-through with my goal of not duplicating reviews here on this blog. In years previous, I’d repost reviews I wrote for Romance Junkies on this blog as well as on Goodreads. It was time consuming, so when I was looking for ways to do more with less time, it was an easy decision to let that go. I also reviewed several books, mostly children’s books, on Goodreads without posting them here. I did that for two reasons. If I don’t like a book, I don’t want to post it here with the rest of my “zestful” life. I don’t like writing a laundry list of why I don’t like a book. I’d much rather blather on about why I loved it. This is my zestful place so I’m only reviewing books that make me zestful!
The second reason is that some of my reviews are super short, especially for children’s books which are few pages. Those don’t really work for the blog format, so I quickly review them on Goodreads and skip the blog. If I have enough time in the future, I’ll post a summary of those books.
And the best part of 2017? Spending quality time with friends and family. We did a lot of that and that’s something very memorable. It gave us the get up and go when we were weary. It made the stress less, especially with all the laughter. Thank you to all who laughed with us, sometimes big belly laughs that made us cry tears of joy. 🙂
What’s new in 2018? I’d like to post a “What I’m reading” type post and point you to the reviews that are only on Romance Junkies or Goodreads. Kind of a catch-up post that might include a list of future publications I have on hand to read early. Focus on photography needs to be high on my list. I didn’t spend half the amount of time on taking photos as I wished last year. I’d like to include more of that this year — maybe a photo of the week type thing where I don’t have to write much, just give you a view of Life Through the Lens.
So, we will see! I don’t want to promise what I can’t deliver. Let’s just say that I look forward to sharing my world with you. As much as possible. 🙂