Like all years, this has been one of ups and downs.
Unlike most years, the ups and downs have hit higher and lower than usual.
It's been a year that I've spent more time reflecting on things.
I've spent more time making personal decisions about what I want out of life, what I want to do with my time left here in this world.
Laura Lippman, who does a lot of amazing things, writes a one word resolution column that I look forward to. You can read this year's at her blog, The Memory Project. http://www.journalscape.com/LauraLippman/2015-12-28-16:13/
It's hard to come up with just one word.
It's especially hard if you're a wordy kinda person who has never in her life been able to share a single thing in, as my friend Michael Dean would always beg, "Oh, Dear God - the abbreviated version, please!"
But I did.
I admit it - I couldn't really just do one.
So I came up with two.
One is "do."
The other is "stretch."
Here's a confession.
I have not shared this with many people 'cause it's just silly.
And, it seems, I think - so unlike me.
I like to think of myself as an independent sort.
And I guess I am.
But it's only been up to a point.
It has not, for many years, included getting in a car and just driving myself some place.
Not, of course, including around Boone, or areas fairly close.
But whenever I've wanted to go anywhere more than a couple hours away, Donald Scott Barley has always, always, said "sure, I'll take you."
And I had grown to count on that.
And it's lovely having a partner who will do that, and he's fun as all hell to travel with so I really hadn't given it a lot of thought.
Didn't even realize how I had caused my own world to shrink.
My Bouchercon friends had no idea that driving myself to Raleigh was as big a deal as it was. Most of them had no idea that getting myself there was a very big deal to me.
And, after doing it, it was not the big deal I had been concerned about either.
I just did it.
With the help of Samantha.
Samantha is our GPS lady.
And although she gets a little grumpy and will start berating me to "Make a U-Turn." and to make it as soon as possible, she and I travel well together.
As a matter of fact, she's part of my "Do."
In 2016 I intend to hop into my car and ask Miss Samantha to help me find my way to visit family in Knoxville. A girlfriend in Nashville. Hell's Bells, who knows what's next? Watch out friends, I may just show up on your doorstep, knock on the door and demand a cup of coffee!
But at least I'm getting myself outside of my little self-made borders of constriction.
And that's not all.
I've made some additional plans to "do."
I'm not going to sit at my computer and just bitch about the political situation here in North Carolina that makes me sad and angry and frustrated.
I'm going to be working to help Sue Counts in her bid for the House against Jonathan Jordan.
I have NO idea what I'll be doing, but something.
Whatever Sue thinks I can do to help. It's past time for me to be out there actually doing something.
I'm not sure, but this is my year to DO.
For awhile I was working with our literacy association. I stopped doing that because I was working with an individual in attempts to improve reading and comprehension skills. A person I grew to respect and care about. A person who had a story that broke my heart. It's not my story to tell, so I won't. But, I learned more from the association than he did. I have a problem with being able to remove my heart from situations that have caused people pain. And from this experience I have learned that my skill sets do not include one-on-one assistance, but more in the way of administrative assistance. Spending my entire working life as a secretary can be put back to use in my retirement in a way that I'll find fulfilling, I think.
My second one word resolution is "stretch."
I hope to stretch myself creatively.
My publishing, up until this past year, included personal memoir essays, my novel, and helping Harley write his book.
This year I had two short stories published, so my "stretch" has already begun.
We're going to continue that stretch in the year 2016 and see just how far we can take it.
It'll be a fun thing.
And tonight I'm going to sit myself down and do something that has become a part of my year-end routine.
I'm going to read this amazing book by Neil Gaiman.
Have you read it?
You'll thank me.
And I wish you all a 2016 of good things.
Do the things you've been putting off, maybe.
Or do more of the things you love doing.
I'll be thinking about you while Samantha helps me get out and discover a whole bunch of new places and things.