183//365 — Halfway

I saw this morning’s @year_progress tweet, and the news hit me hard. The year, it seems, is already half over. Where did the time go? How could I waste so much of it? Did I waste it?

Sure, there were failures, but there were successes too. With a bit of courage, I’m sure the second half of the year can be even better than the first. I can start again, and all that has happened can happen over again, if I want it to. So, maybe nothing has really ended at all, only begun anew.

Same as any other day.

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I’m doing something new here. In addition to my regular blog post, I’m adding these journal entries. The goal is to post one every day hence the title of each will be the current day number out of 365. I was inspired to try this by Thord D. Hedengren.

Oh, and, as always, thank you for reading. If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter for inspiring reads + existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering. Or help support what I do by sharing a virtual cup of coffee.

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Currently // March 2018: There’s an Energy All Around

Spring is here! Spring is here! March has come and gone, and spring is finally, finally, finally here. Of course, that doesn’t mean a whole lot here in Colorado. Our Spring feels more like Summer some days, and winter in others. It has snowed nearly every day for the past week and melted away every day too. Still, something in the air is different. The energy is back. The squirrels and geese are out, the trees are budding, and we’ve had thunder again, even during the snow storms.

I find easier to practice gratitude and mindfulness this time of year. This time of year makes me want to be present and to hold onto every day before it slips away. I always end up wishing winter away, and wishing summer would stay. I always end up losing half my year this way, but I hold on to more than most I think. I won’t beat myself up for it, not now anyway. For now, I am here, I am alive, and there is energy all around. I can’t wait to see what April will bring.

But first, here is what I am currently:

Writing blog posts and more blog posts, still. Tomorrow is the first day of the Blogging A to Z Challenge, and I am trying very hard to get a head start but, as usual, life is getting in the way. I have A thru C just about finished, and I have my titles and quotes all organized and ready for the rest. I just need to add my words. Exploring my theme has been exciting, and eye-opening too. I’m afraid it will come off too depressing, and I’m also afraid it won’t come off depressing enough. What I mean is I’m trying not to be too optimistic or pessimistic, I’m just trying to be real.

Making a mess. I’ve been gathering random supplies and scraps for more bookbinding projects and collages, but I haven’t actually made anything in weeks. My “creativity room” is overrun with wasted creativity and the room feels toxic. I can’t go in there. That pile is nothing but a reminder of my failure, and I can’t even begin to think of where to begin to use it or to clean it up. I think I need to purge. Less has always been more and creating with constraints has always sparked my creativity more than endless options or freedom ever has. A good Spring cleaning may just be exactly what I need.

Planning the wedding still, but there have been some setbacks. There have been some tears shed and so hard decisions made, and now the date has been pushed out to summer 2019. There is just too much the house needs and too much that my family needs for me to feel comfortable dropping large sums on venue deposits, catering, and decorations, but it’s important to us to have our big day so, the big day has to wait.

Anticipating my birthday! I believe that birthdays are a big deal and everyone should celebrate theirs, no matter how old you are, or how bad your year has been. A birthday is a celebration of your existence. You are alive! I am alive, and April is my month to celebrate and share that with everyone who means something to me. This year is a special one. This year my birthday falls on a Friday the 13th. and that means a new tattoo!

Reading The Odyssey by Homer, slowly but surely. I took a little break a few weeks ago to read Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer. It was really, really good, and I hope to write a post about it very soon because I am absolutely obsessed. I had the best time with this book because I didn’t read it alone. My friend happened to become just as obsessed as me, and it made all the difference.

Watching Ray Donovan on Showtime. I’m bingeing all 5 seasons right, and it has been nothing but a distraction and a detriment to my progress on writing. I’m watching an episode right now and taking far too long to finish this post. I don’t possess the self-control to slow down or limit the number of episodes or hours I spend on the show. No, the best thing for me to do is to get through them as quickly as I can so I can get my life back.

I am also looking forward to the return of two of my favorite shows in April, Westworld on HBO, and Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu.

Reflecting on what it means to be a writer, and what it means to want to write a book. I read a quote recently from F. Scott Fitzgerald: “You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say,” and I started thinking that maybe I haven’t quite gotten at what it is I have to say. I’m rethinking my plans, and reflecting on my lack of action and why. I’m reflecting on the purpose of this blog, and my journal, and where and how I collect ideas and inspiration.

Learning that I am capable of overcoming my fears. I’ve been trying to be more confident and to be useful, but my anxiety and my fear have been like a barrier I could never get over, until I had to. My girlfriend went out-of-town earlier this month and, admittedly, I fell apart, but I did everything I needed to do, on my own. I drove. The one thing I have been so afraid to do, to drive, I did it. To and from work, to and from the grocery store, to and from my mother’s house, I did it. I did it, and I’m going to keep on doing it. I’m not cured, but I’m close. I am so close!

Feeling a little scared. Since I have been driving and since we have been working on a budget and bringing our debt under control, things feel possible again. Projects around the house, trips, big wedding plans, job changes, and more. I have choices and with choices comes responsibility. I have to take action and accept the consequences if I don’t. SOme choices are ones I never thought I’d have and I find myself wholly unprepared for them. I’m excited, but I’m terrified too.

Fearing the results of some test my doctor ordered this week. I’m worried they will find that something is wrong, and I am even more worried that they won’t find anything at all. Something is wrong but what if they can’t figure it out? Or worse still, what if it’s all in my head?

Needing to be left alone sometimes. I am so grateful that so many people like me and want to spend so much time with me, but I am finding that people I love, and who know I need to write, force me to choose too often. I’ve had a few run-ins with close co-workers lately who know I spend my lunch hour with my headphones in and my laptop open to various drafts and projects, but they talk to me and monopolize my time. They call me grouchy and make me feel guilty for working on something for me, and it’s starting to get to me. I need people to understand more and support my needs and my boundaries.

Loving my snakes. Yes, I have two pet snakes, Delilah the grouchy Ball Python, and Ava the quickly growing Brazilian Rainbow Boa. They had been a bit neglected over the winter, but I’ve noticed they are becoming more active and aware as the weather warms up too. They will be getting a new shipment of frozen rats for this month, and their enclosures are going to get upgraded before the end of the year. I’m excited for them and looking forward to making them more comfortable and reestablishing trust with them.

My baby girl is growing up! 😭 #ava

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Hating how little physical energy I have had lately. I never feel like I’ve slept enough and all I want to do is move from the bed to the couch and back to the bed. Some days showering feels like too much and some days I resent having to go to work, eat, clean, or interact with the world at all. I have a good hour or two a day where I feel somewhat normal, and I try to devote it to reading and writing, and to my girlfriend and dog who love me far more than I deserve, but other than that, I’m so tired.

Hoping that a little exercise, sunshine, and encouragement is all I need. I’m hoping it’s just depression. I don’t mean “just” as in “not a big deal”. I mean “just” as in “this is a problem I have been dealing with my whole life and possess some grasp on what to do to make it better.” I’ve accepted that depression will always be a part of my life, but I’m beginning to consider medication and therapy improve my quality of life. It’s hard to be like this, and it’s getting to me that I’ve gone as far as I can on my own. I’m strong, I know that, but I want to be strong enough to get help too.

All in all, March was a good month. This year has been good! Not always easy, not always happy, but good. I’m growing, and I am happy to find that age has no effect on that. Next month I’ll be 33, and I see no end to all I can learn and change about myself if I want to. March taught me that. March taught me I can do things I didn’t think I could.

But how about you? How did March treat you? Is it feeling like Spring where you are? What are you looking forward to in April? What are you afraid of? Are you participating in the Blogging A to Z Challenge too? If so let me know in the comments!

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Thanks for reading! If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter for inspiring reads + existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering. Or help support what I do by sharing a cup of coffee.

The inspiration for these posts comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

Featured photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Currently // February 2018: I’m Waking up with the World

February, the month devoted to Black History, and to lovers of romance, passes by far too quickly. I wish this one had been a leap year. I wish I could have had one more day to complete one more thing and end the month on a more satisfying note. Instead, I’m scrambling and disappointed. That isn’t entirely true. February was good to me, I don’t think I was good in return though.

I procrastinated and lost sight of what I set out to do. I spent far less of my time writing, reading, and creating then I meant to but so many of the last 28 days were filled with love, and beauty, and discovery, I can’t say it was all bad. I just had to make hard choices about my time, that’s all, and if it had been at another time of year, I might have chosen differently. I’m hoping that March will afford me more options and more time for me.

I leave the month inspired and proud of what I was able to do. I’m determined to make slow but steady progress and my biggest goal to remake this space into a place where I explore more ideas, work out what I think and how I think. I look forward to writing again.

But first, here is what I am currently:

Writing blog posts and more blog posts. A writer I admire very much, Austin Kleon, has been keeping up a daily blogging habit and recently shared a post he wrote some time ago about how and why he blogs the way that he does. It changed the way I thought about what I was doing, or, more accurately, not doing, here. I read too much bad advice and compared myself too harshly to others. I couldn’t write anymore. But I feel like I’m at least pointed in the right direction now and all I have to do is take a tiny step forward. Before the end of March I will begin again, and this time I will be writing here every single day.

Making notebooks! Last month, I mentioned that I was working on finding a new journal for myself. Well, I finally finished it, and while it is undoubtedly flawed and no part of the project went as smoothly as I hoped it would, I love it! I learned so much while making it, both about bookbinding and about myself. I learned that bookmaking is like meditation and that making things with my hands is the best way to relax in the evening. I’m slowly filling it up (another daily habit I had to begin again too), and I can’t wait to make another, even better one next!

I’ve also made a scrap paper sketchbook—pics soon!—and I’m putting together a pocket notebook too. I’m actively looking for new bookbinding projects to begin and new ways to fill the books I’ve already made.

Planning my wedding, and it isn’t nearly as much fun as everyone acts like it should be. I honestly believe it’s because we’re still in search of a venue. We found one we love, but it’s pricey. As excited as I am to marry the girl of my dreams, finally, and as much as we both want to give the other a day every bride dreams of, it’s hard to justify spending thousands of dollars—years of savings—on just a few hours of celebration.

Anticipating more sunlight! Finally, Spring is close enough to begin feeling excited about. I’m looking forward to a typical Colorado spring with increasingly unstable but steadily warming temperatures and the days continuing to grow longer and longer. I’m looking forward to the smell of honeysuckle, fresh cut grass, and rain! Oh, I have missed rain so much! Soon, very soon.

Reading The Oresteia, still. The book is really, really interesting but it isn’t an easy read for me. First of all, it’s a play, and the structure makes it hard for me to visualize the action. Second of all, its old. This particular translation from Greek to English seems to prioritize a natural way of speaking, but I still struggle with the metaphors and the grandiosity.

I also discovered the poetry of Nayyirah Waheed this month. I downloaded both her books, salt., and nejma, and I’m working my way through them quickly. Reading her poetry feels like radical self-care.

Watching Here and Now on HBO. On the surface, it’s just another show about another dysfunctional family, but underneath there is an exploration of race relations, aging, and some weird supernatural psychological creepiness too. I highly recommend it along with Altered Carbon on Netflix, a sci-fi murder mystery set in the future where human consciousness can be stored, uploaded, and downloaded into a new body, even after death.

I can’t move into March without mentioning Black Panther. I don’t have the words yet to describe how a film like that made me feel. I nearly cried, same as when I attended the all-femme showing of Wonder Woman when it came out. That what representation long denied and finally, finally realized, feels like.

Reflecting on one year since my ulcerative colitis diagnosis and everything I have learned about my body, changed in my life, and failed to do for my well being since then. I don’t know if it’s age—my 30s feels almost like a second puberty where my body is changing in depressing and disturbing ways I don’t understand—or if it’s my diagnosis, but I don’t feel as energetic or as beautiful as I did before the beginning of last year. I am pledging now to find a way to move more and to learn to love my body through its changes. I’m convinced self-love is necessary to aging gracefully.

Learning how to filter other people’s thoughts through my own mind—more inspiration from Austin Kleon. I read a lot. I listen to a lot of podcasts. I watch all kinds of interesting shows and movies. Sometimes, I even listen to good music, or just learn a fun new fact.

All of it makes me think and feel new deeply, and I want very much to share the way I think and feel with all of you, but I have a hard time giving myself permission share it. It feels like stealing, or like copying. Someone already wrote about it, so there isn’t any reason to say it again, right?. But there is something to say about how something changed me. There is something to be said about where it led me and where I hope to lead you by sharing it.

Feeling ready to wake from my hibernation. My bones and joints long to move and hold weight again. My muscles are sore and longing for space to stretch. I’m hungry and curious and searching for adventure and connection again. I want to feel the sun on my skin, and I want to see the moon again. I’m waking up with the world, again.

Fearing what I will do with myself when my girlfriend goes out of town for work in a few weeks. We’ve lived together for over 13 years,  and I can probably count all the nights we’ve spent apart using only my fingers. I don’t sleep well, eat well, or feel well at all without her and she’ll be gone for six whole days. Worse, ill be driving myself to and from work, and to my mothers once a day to care for her cats since she’s leaving town too! I’ll be working all on my own to overcome this driving anxiety. I’m scared, but I’m also kind of excited. I’m hoping having no choice but to drive on my own for six days will force the progress I’ve been struggling to make.

Needing more human interaction in my life. I’ve been busy. I’ve been sick. I’ve been feeling down, and disappointed, anxious, and, at times, lonely. My friends and family are all hibernating too, or they’re working, or they are sick, or they are just too tired, and it is just too cold outside and anyway they’re broke and so am I, so we haven’t seen each other since Christmas or longer. I want to reach out but it’s hard, and I’m mad at them for not reaching out, but it has to be just as hard for them too I guess. I’m afraid I’m growing away from people. I need the courage to build all my bridges again.

Loving the WeCroak app. It may sound strange but installing an app that reminds me five times a day that I am going to die and offers a quote, a bit of wisdom, on the inevitable end to reflect upon, has done more for my well being than any mindfulness or productivity app I have ever tried. When you remember you are going to die, scrolling Twitter and Facebook no longer feel like a good use of your time, and you choose something more fulfilling to do. It’s even helped with my death anxiety by offering comfort through validation of my fear. The trick is to fight the urge to swipe away the notification and to really take in what the quotes are trying to teach you. Best $0.99 I have ever spent!

Hating the way I can see so clearly the divide between black and white, men, and women, old and young, rich and poor, the people with power and the people they exploit, but I can’t do anything to fix it. I feel helpless, useless, and worse, part of the problem myself. I’m angry and tired of being so forgiving of the people who deny more and people like me the dignity of a life where I can feel free and fulfilled. I’m angry, and sometimes I want to take a page from my oppressor’s book. I want desperate measures and the shady tactics. I don’t want to be patient. I don’t’ want to be kind. I want all the bad things to STOP! I want to stop being afraid and start feeling safe, and whole, and important.

Hoping the energy I am seeing behind gun control in this country won’t fizzle out. I’m tired of the world moving on so easily after all this tragedy. When children are killing children, the world should stop and reflect. The world should change. Everything should feel different when the halls of our schools run with blood and ring with gunshots. I believe in the Second Amendment, but we’ve gone too far! We’ve placed the rights of weapons dealers over the lives of children! I’m angry, and I’m heartbroken, but I believe in these kids, and I’m hopeful for the future.

All in all, February was a good month, it just wasn’t the month I thought it would be. I had hoped for more from myself by now. I’m trying so hard to focus on all the progress I have made, even if it isn’t the progress I had planned to make. Things are moving forward. The world is changing, and I am changing with it. I’m back in a space that belongs to me. I’m making things with my hands. I’m back on the path to learning about myself, with you.

But how about you? How did February treat you? How much have you learned and grown? What has made you feel disappointed or afraid? Did you see Black Panther? Absolutely amazing film, right? Did you spend Valentine’s Day with a special someone? Let me know in the comments.

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Thanks for reading! If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter for inspiring reads + existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering. Or help support what I do by sharing a cup of coffee.

The inspiration for these posts comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

Featured photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Currently // January 2018: I’m Glad Its Over, but I Wish It Wasn’t

Oh my gosh it’s a whole new month, and I am late posting my “Currently” list! One day January was dragging, and I had plenty of time, then POOF! the next day it was gone. I had so much planned, so much I had hoped to have done by now, and of course, OF COURSE, life has thrown curve ball after curve ball, and nothing at all has turned out the way that I wanted it to. Turns out there was a whole lot of day job work waiting for me right around the corner from the holidays. Work that left nearly no time at all for writing, or reading, or art.

I’ve seen posts on Twitter from people proclaiming that their “2018 will start on February 1st, January is a free trial month. I think I will head into February with the same mentality. January was a trial month. A month for easing into the year. A month to get my feet wet in and to get all that “other work” and procrastination out of the way and now I can spend the next 11 months of 2018 doing great things!

But first, here is what I am currently:

Writing all the things, when I can that is, but none of it has been worth sharing. I have a couple dozen ideas for blog posts, newsletter topics, Twitter threads, essays, poems, zines, and book chapters all scribbled out on post its and pieces of scrap paper but nothing coherent, nothing fully realized, nothing tangible. I’m getting there but so so slowly. I’m working on being okay with that.

Making a new journal/diary, and a new art journal. I used this tutorial for the journal, but mine is going to be all black on the outside, of course, and hot pink on the inside. The pages are all printed, each with a different pattern: some ruled, some with dots, other with hexagons, and triangles, and more. The art journal is a combination of this tutorial and this tutorial. The pages are all different sizes, thickness, colors, and textures, and I am full of ideas and very excited to finish it, and very afraid to finish it too. I’m taking them both very slowly, trying not to let my fear get the best of me. Trying not to freeze up and let myself down.

Planning our wedding, for real this time! We’ve pushed our date back for the last time and have just under nine months to make this thing happen. We’ve set up a Trello board, we’ve designed our save the dates, and we’ve gathered venue options to start visiting. Were entirely overwhelmed but we’re taking it one step at a time and trying to remember that 10 months is more than enough time if you make sure to do a little something every single day.

Anticipating Valentine’s Day with my wonderful wife to be. We’re going to brunch at a jazz place we found by accident last summer and seeing a ballet performance of Romeo and Juliet. Of course, it won’t compare to the 1996 film starting DiCaprio as Romeo and Harold Perrineau as Mercutio. Maybe we’ll watch that too, afterward.

Reading The Oresteia by Aeschylus, still. I need to need to need to finish it soon before I fall too far behind my 30 book reading goal for the year. I think id better go book shopping soon. It helps to have a good book waiting for you after you finish a difficult book. It keeps you motivated.

Watching The Chi on Showtime, a show about the day-to-day violence and grief people of Chicago’s face, and Hate Thy Neighbor on Viceland, in which comedian Jamali Maddix travels around the world meeting alt-right, racist, and homophobic groups. I finished Scandal, and I’m catching up on Grey’s Anatomy but I have long since forgotten why I like either one.

Learning Spanish still, but not much else at the moment. I had hoped to sign the International Women’s Health and Human Rights Course but with work, and the wedding, and winter getting to me, it wasn’t a good time. I attempted to complete the course late last summer, but I was applying for the Bitch Media fellowship then and couldn’t keep up. I’ll try again for the February 24 enrollment date. In the meantime, I will be catching up on the Crash Course Sociology playlist.

Feeling exhausted! I don’t know what it is, but I am having a harder and harder time getting out of bed in the mornings. I feel sleep deprived and zombified. I’m drinking more and more coffee all the time which I suspect is only exacerbating the problem. I blame winter.

Needing more time. January has dragged on longer than any month should, and still it doesn’t feel like enough. I’m ready for it to end, but I wish it wouldn’t. I need more time. More time to sleep. More time to do the things I want to do. More time to check a few more items off the to-do list, to make a dream or two come true, to rectify a regret. I need more time to take care of myself. I need more time with the people I care about who seem to be just as busy, exhausted, and depressed as me. I’d like more time to let myself care and more time to connect. Most of all, I’d like more time to do nothing at all.

Loving love! Normally for me, February is all about Black History Month, and I’m still mindful of that, but this being the year I am getting married, all I can think about is love. I’ve been with my girlfriend for over 15 years, and I have learned so much about connection, caring, and compassion. I’ve learned how to equally be an individual, and be a part of a couple too. I’ve learned how to grow with someone. I’ve learned how to love in healthy ways, and I’ve learned how to articulate the way I need to be loved too. I’ve learned and continue to learn every day what words like marriage, relationship, compromise, and “happily ever after,” really means. I love that real life, hard, messy, angry, frustrating, deep, quiet, and calm kind of love.

Hating this new trend in America where we base a person’s worthiness, “American-ness”, is based solely on how much they can contribute to the economy. How much product can you generate? How much supply will you be able to demand? If you can’t work, invest, or buy you aren’t welcome. I thought a person’s life was priceless? I thought life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness were non-negotiable? It is our responsibility! It is our problem. IF not us, who? Aren’t we trying to do better? Do better!

Hoping that the focus on queer, non-binary, and all femme identifying people and the harassment, violence, and suffering we all face on a day-to-day basis continues. It’s about fucking time we address rape culture and the lengths our institutions will go to turn a blind eye. It’s about time we come together, support one another, and demand, DEMAND, acknowledgment, validation, and justice. I’m strengthened by the bravery I seen. I’m encouraged by the response. I’m hopeful that fewer women will carry such burdens and such pain with them in the future.

All in all, January was, honestly, a pretty hard month, but not in every area of my life. Some very good things were started this month too. I’m doing my best to remember that and move on with determination and focus. February will be short, and Spring is just around the corner and with it warmer weather, my birthday, and Spring Break! I just have to get there. I just have to remember that I’m happy. I’m in love. I have to remember to be grateful.

But how about you? How did you spend the first month of 2018? How are those resolutions holding up? What are you looking forward to in February? I hope all is well, and I hope you can find a way to care for yourself, take care of your to-do list, and take care of the people you love in the coming month.

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Thanks for reading! If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter for inspiring reads + existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering. Or help support what I do by sharing a cup of coffee.

The inspiration for this posts come from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

Featured photo is by Nathan Wolfe on Unsplash

Hello 2018 // A Good Year for Dreams to Begin

“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

I wrote yesterday that ending of a year is a strange time. Of course, there is no difference in who we are or how the rest of the world behaves from December 31st to January 1st, not any more different from any other two days, but something is different though isn’t it. Something about changing the date from 2017 to 2018 changes everything else too.

This morning when I woke I felt a kind of pressure in my chest. I felt full of potential and possibility, and I felt afraid. I didn’t want to explore that feeling. If you don’t acknowledge it, you don’t have to face it right? If you never dare to dream, then you never have to regret your choices or hate yourself for being so cowardly. You never have to try, or fail, or try again and fail again. You can just float through life all the way to the end. Easy peasy.

But what a waste, and I should know, I have been floating along for a very long time. I have been lucky that happiness, for the most part, made its way to me, but lately, I’ve wanted to find a kind of happiness I had gone after myself. I wanted to feel I had earned something.

This year, I need a win! It would feel so good to have something to bring to my family and friends to show them that I wasn’t a loser or a failure. It would be nice to have them feel proud of me. It would be nice to know they didn’t think I was wasting my time. I need to prove that I’m more than a mere dreamer. I want to be a doer too. Maybe I need to believe those things about myself first.

So, I am going to explore that feeling of possibility and potential. I am going to dream big impossible dreams about all the things I want to have and do, and little impossible dreams about what kind of person I want to be deep down inside.

I’ve written a list of 100 dreams that I thought were impossible but aren’t actually impossible at all. It was only that I had convinced myself I couldn’t do because it was too terrifying to imagine a life where I could. Dreaming and trying, focusing and making a real effort, believing in myself and finding the strength to love myself enough not to get lazy, undisciplined, or timid, that is how I will get through my list. This is how I will make my life into the one I’ve wasted all this time dreaming of.

Of course, I can’t tackle all 100 dreams in the short course of one year, but I can start with just a few. Some highlights include:

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1. Get over my driving phobia
2. Get my driver’s license

This has been on every New Years Resolution list I have made in my adult life, and every year I fail, but going into 2018 I feel closer than ever to getting it done. I have been driving, to and from work, to the store up the street, and around the neighborhood,  up until a little over a week ago. Then the weather turned nasty here, and I didn’t feel ready yet to drive in the snow without having a full on panic attack.

But the roads are all cleared now, and I go back to work tomorrow, so back behind the wheel, I go. I don’t want to lose all that progress, and I don’t want to go on letting everyone, most importantly myself, down. I will get through this by the end of the year. I have to because I can’t keep relying on others to get me where I need to go, and I want to because there are so many places I want to go and things I want to do and driving is the only way to get there.

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59. Journal every day
60. Hand make all of my own journals

I already try my best to write in my journal every day, but buying the same old journal, again and again, is sucking the fun out of the habit. It’s boring and monotonous. It’s the same pages every day, with the same number of lines and even if I bought a notebook full of grid or dotted pages they would get just as boring eventually too. Why not pages that were all different? Some ruled, some dotted, some with a hexagon pattern, and some that were completely blank? What about some different color paper, something that pops! Hot pink or bright yellow?

I’ve been looking for a new hobby, something I can do with my hands, in the real world. I want to make something beautiful and useful, and a new journal, one I might enjoy writing in again, sounded like an easy enough place to start.

I found a tutorial by Sea Lemon on YouTube and decided to start making my own journals this year. It feels right that a writer should make their own tools don’t you think? So, a new notebook, and maybe a few notepads, and a pocket notebook, and a planner, and maybe a bullet journal for my sister and if people like them maybe I can make a few more for anyone at all who would like one.

I also have a lot of pages piled up just waiting to be made into a brand new art journal for number 72, “Complete one year of a creative habit.” Then maybe next year I can get to number 52, “Learn to paint with oils or acrylics?”

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48. Publish a book of essays and poetry

This one is the hard one. This one is what my year will be all about. This one will take discipline, and focus, and hard everyday effort! I’m starting with 400 words a day, no matter what. No matter how tired I am, no matter what else I am doing, no matter how much I don’t want to. 400 words a day that is all I have to do. I don’t have to write something great. It just has to be honest, and it has to be mine.

I’m not trying to get rich, I’m only trying to say something. I plan to self-publish whatever it turns out to be on my own when I am ready, and I will consider the dream realized if I can get 5 whole people, who I don’t know, to buy a copy of the damn thing.

I have other writerly dreams too. Number 46 is “Publish a sci-fi/dystopian fiction novel.” Number 47 is “Publish a graphic novel.” Those are big, and very far away dreams but number 49, “Publish 2 blog posts a week” and number 50, “Publish a zine” feel very doable for 2018, I think.

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66. Read 30 books a year

This is another repeat resolution. Every year I set a goal of 30 books on Goodreads, and every year I fall short, but by a little less each time. Last year I read 22 books, my best yet. I got stuck a few time on books I didn’t enjoy and out of sheer pride refused to let them win and move on. This year things are a little different. This year I will move on when books aren’t interesting to me, and come back to them when I have the strength to try again. Some books take more than one introduction to click. It has to be the right time for you to meet you know.

I’m also going to work on number 58, “Get a library card.” I had one, many years ago but I checked out more books than I should have once and never got them back, and I’m afraid of how much money I might owe to be allowed the privilege again. But books aren’t cheap, and I don’t have the room to bring a brand new one home to stay every few weeks. I’m also going to give ebooks another chance. Number 67 is “Read more philosophy books,” and I happened to have a list of 135 completely free ones! And when I get tired of those there are many more authors, genres, and topics to turn to, all for free too of course.

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37. Start running
38. Join a gym, attend regularly
39. Make meditation and yoga a daily habit
40. Become a weekday vegetarian

And finally, finally, I have come to my last resolution, so common and prone to failure I almost chose not to include it, get healthier. I want to start a running habit. It seems like the easiest place to start. Even if I just went once around the block, it would be better than all the couch surfing I am doing now.

Then there is a gym up the street. Walking, or rather, running distance away from my house. If I could prove myself by running every day for a month or two, maybe I could trust myself with a gym membership. I could cycle, take classes, I wonder if they have yoga? And then, I could take the two nights a week I don’t eat meat and make it 5 days a week. A weekday vegetarian doesn’t seem so hard.

As you can see, I’m trying to take it easy and make small improvements to my routine. Too many people try for a 30-minute hardcore workout every day of the week with a goal weight and a brand new radical diet. I have no goal weight, and I have no diet restrictions, as of now. I’m just going to try, and if I can just do that much, I can’t fail.

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One hundred dreams feels like a lot, and I doubt the list could be completed in one lifetime. I doubt I would want to complete it. There are things on there I may want to do now, but five years from now or more I might change my mind. So, the list is a dynamic one. Not only will I be crossing things off, but I’ll be tweaking, and adding, and deleting from them too.

Hell, the list isn’t even finished yet! I made it to 85 things before the ball dropped last night and I thought I’d give myself some time to figure out the last 15. There is no rush after all. I have my whole life to figure it out, I only have to remember that lives tend never to last as long as we hope they will. I have time, but I better get started, and no time is better than the first day of a brand new year.

But what about you? Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions? Do you believe they can actually work? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments.

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”

― Neil Gaiman

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Thanks for reading! If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter for inspiring reads + existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering. Or help support what I do by sharing a cup of coffee.

Check out my complete list of 100 Dreams, or what I have so far anyway and if you make one yourself, feel free to drop the link in the comments so everyone can check it out.

Featured photo is by Josh Boot on Unsplash